Bridge strike sends flames soaring into Glenville air
An 18-wheel tractor-trailer hit the Maple Avenue bridge in Glenville Thursday, injuring the driver and causing a large explosion with flames that reached as high as 200 feet in the air, officials said. The tractor-trailer was carrying some type of compressed natural gas, propane or compressed air.
This is a separate bridge than the Glenridge Road bridge that is notorious for being hit.
The crash happened just after 6:30 p.m., according to Glenville Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle. Power was knocked out for a time. Several surrounding homes were evacuated.
“It was a significant explosion,” Koetzle said
The flames remained at about 50 feet high.
The driver, Sylvester Basil Jr., 60, of Texas, has severe burns to his hands and face. He was taken to Westchester Burn Unit.
Basil was conscious and walked himself to the ambulance, police said.
He was making a delivery from Pennsylvania to a location about an hour north of the crash.
Fortunately, Koetzle said he does not believe there was any damage to the surrounding area. The Woodhaven neighborhood was without power for a couple of hours. The area was evacuated as a precaution.
There is no environmental impact because it is not a liquid fuel, Koetzle said.
Maple Avenue will be closed for an extended period and people should avoid the area. The bridge will have to be inspected.
The driver did not see a sign indicating a low height, investigators said.
Although this bridge isn’t hit as much as the Glenridge Road bridge, it is still a hazard and this could have been a fatality.
“This is the most significant we’ve had to either of our bridges,” Koetzle said.
Koetzle also said the Thomas Corners fire chief was involved in a crash on the way to the scene.
The chief was heading north on Maple Avenue with his lights and sirens on, investigators said.
A car that was ahead of him heading in the same direction tried to turn into a driveway as the chief was trying to pass. He crashed into the car.
Three people inside the car were injured. All three passengers were brought to Albany Medical Center.
NewsChannel 13 will continue to follow this story, and bring you updates on WNYT.com and our later newscasts.