GLENVILLE, N.Y. — A tractor-trailer loaded with what authorities believe were gas containers slammed into the bottom of an overhead railroad bridge in upstate New York and exploded on the night of Thursday, Jan. 11 as a freight train was traveling on the tracks above.
The crash seriously injured the truck driver and briefly knocked out power to local homes and businesses. At about 6:30 p.m., the truck hit the bridge in Glenville in Schenectady County, about 30 miles northwest of Albany. Police said the driver apparently failed to heed signs warning that the height clearance was 10 feet.
Video and news photos from the scene showed flames shooting into the sky as the wrecked truck was stuck under the bridge and nearly tipped over. Officials believe it was carrying containers of compressed natural gas. Authorities said there was no major damage reported to the train, which did not stop.
“The first thought was ‘god forbid if there is a fatality here,’” Christopher Koetzle, the Glenville town supervisor, told reporters at the scene. “This is something we feared for years. This is obviously the most significant hit we’ve had to our bridges.”
“It should invoke more discussion on this absolutely,” he continued.
The same bridge was struck by vehicles five times earlier this year, The Daily Gazette reported.
Police said multiple homes near the crash site were evacuated as a precaution, and most homes and businesses on the east side of town lost power for about two hours.
Crews were still trying to remove the truck from under the bridge Friday, Jan. 12. After that, engineers were expected to inspect it to determine the damage, officials said.
The driver was identified as a 60-year-old man from Texas. Authorities said he was flown to Westchester Medical Center to be treated for third-degree burns.
Police also said a local fire chief who was responding to the truck crash got into an accident on the way there. Thomas Corners Chief Dan Vlainich had his lights and siren on when a vehicle he was trying to pass made a left turn. Three people were brought to a hospital with unknown injuries, police said.
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