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HELP NEEDED! Diesel Saddle Tank Leaks

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  • HELP NEEDED! Diesel Saddle Tank Leaks

    The other day I responded to I-95 here in CT for a ruptured saddle tank. Both tanks (150 gallons each) were pretty much full when a bolt kicked up from the road creating a large gash in one of the tanks. When we arrived we found the truck on the side of the highway with an emergency 150 gallon catch pool underneath the leaking tank. Thanks to a fellow trucker who witnessed the accident and radioed the truck that was leaking to pull over, only 20-30 gallons spilled onto the roadway. The driver quickly deployed this great catch pool that is supposed to catch up to 150 gallons.

    The problem was that the catch pool was quickly filling up as fuel continued to transfer from one tank to another. In past incidents there was always an easily identifiable transfer cut off valve to use. In this particular incident, the driver told us that this truck (and many newer ones) does not have one. And sure enough, we couldn't find one.

    We eventually plugged the leak with "plug n' dyke". But then the tank with the plugged hole equalized with the other, applying pressure to our freshly filled hole. We even tried plugging the vent hole of the full tank to prevent the equalization

    Has anybody else found this situation where there is no transfer cut-off switch?

    Does anybody have any training resources for this type of incident?

    Much appreciated,

    Lt. Phil Hayes
    Stamford Fire & Rescue Department

  • #2
    Golf tees.

    If there's a rubber hose, you can usually disconnect it in a couple of seconds with a pair of pliers, then jam a golf tee up the line. On big trucks this line may be bigger than what a golf tee can handle, but we whittled some "oversized" ones that handled the larger lines. If you can't get to a disconnect, just snip the line with wire cutters or surgical scissors, and the same golf tee works.

    With metal lines it's a little harder. You'll probably need a flare nut wrench to get the line off, but a golf tee still makes an effective plug.

    Hope this helps.


    • #3
      Clamp or crimp the transfer line would be my suggestion, too. Even if the owner had to replace a metal fuel line, it's better than having 300 gallons of diesel to clean up at the side of the road!
      Donald M. Street, Captain
      Maryland City VFD
      Laurel, MD


      • #4
        In a situation like this, what is the standard highway hazmat response for this type of incident?

        Also ,while I have Lt Hayes attention

        When will the SFRD website be updated, especially to reflect photos/descriptions of current apparatus?

        When is the SFRD test?
        My Fire Apparatus Photos: x635Photos.com

        Seth G., Round Rock Texas


        • #5
          Needle nose vise grips are a good thing to have in your kit.Works on most crossovers.T.C.


          • #6
            Yep, that too!

            I've used them to keep from having to drain master cylinders when rebuilding calipers or wheel pistons. Should have thought of that.


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