JENNINGS COUNTY, INDIANA, FIRST-REPSONDERS have a unique method to attack problems involving hazardous compressed gasses. The North Vernon Plain Dealer-Sun reports that the sheriff’s department along with the North Vernon-Center Township Fire Department shut down busy U. S. 50 for more than an hour while they mitigated a leaking gas cylinder problem.
It began last Friday, April 23, when somebody discovered a leaking 20-lb cylinder along the road that was painted all black. Believing that it was a clandestine container of anhydrous ammonia that is used by illicit meth labs, the deputies and firefighters began what is for them a routine procedure. The Plain Dealer-Sun continues:
After evacuating residents from a house on the corner of the road and highway and stopping both eastbound and westbound traffic several hundred feet away, police and firefighters carefully moved the tank a few feet across the highway to vent it.
As Tyler sprayed a heavy stream of water onto the tank, Talkington fired into the tank with an AR-15 police rifle. He made two shots into the tank near the top, then after a couple of minutes, fired twice more into the bottom.
Plain Dealer-Sun photo
“We find tanks all the time that we vent,” Talkington said. “A couple of times a week is not unusual at all for us. Normally, we do that out in the woods and not alongside a highway. In this case, we had no choice.”
The complete article on this bizarre methodology can be read HERE.
This whole story has so many things that are so wrong, you will have to take the time to read the entire article. In it you will find several more stunners like this: The spray of water helped dillute [sic.] the gas and kept it from forming a dangerous cloud as it escaped from the tank…
And this: The pressurized ammonia, which turns into a toxic gas when released into the air….
I really wish that the deputies and the firefighters would receive the basic haz-mat for 1st-responders class. Also having somebody versed in basic chemistry (including molecular weights) may prevent the upcoming disaster. This story – and the photo – makes me shudder.
Hat tip: Jason V.