The crash and subsequent explosion of a gasoline tank truck in Saugus on Route 1 last weekend killing the driver of the truck, causing part of the roadway to melt and causing fire damage to a few businesses adjacent to the heavily traveled roadway.
The explosion was violent and enormous when it happened, sending flames 100 feet into the air and creating a dangerous inferno of swirling fire and thick smoke. Had it not been for a great deal of luck in the way the crash and explosion happened, dozens of innocent people would most likely have been burned to death.
The havoc caused by the crash was reminiscent of a tanker crash and explosion in Revere a few years back and the rather recent tanker explosion that nearly burned to the ground an entire city street in our city.
Our Fire Chief David Butler has repeatedly cautioned local public safety experts to investigate the possibility of limiting or more fully regulating the travel on our roadways of tanker trucks carrying extremely flammable substances.
Chief Butler is absolutely correct.
Everett is home depot for a huge LNG operation where dozens of trucks everyday during heating season are traversing our roadways in the heavy traffic carrying heavy loads of LNG. Then there are oil and gasoline trucks, hundreds of them serving businesses in the local area crowding our roads every hour of everyday.
Given what recently happened in Saugus, there is the very real need for the fire chief and the mayor to get together with this city’s traffic chief to determine what exactly, if anything, can be done to make our roadways a safer place not just for those driving their cars but for the men and women driving the tanker trucks.
The tanker truck driver in Saugus was burned to death and all that remains of his truck is a burned out shell as nearly everything melted away in the inferno last weekend.
The investigation into the accident is ongoing.
Officials aren’t really sure if the truck was defective or if the driver swerved to avoid other traffic.
And there is always the possibility the driver fell asleep at the wheel.
Chief Butler’s assertion that something ought to be done is on the mark.
It will take only one disaster to cause this city to be a changed place forever.
Every effort must be made to avert such an inevitability before it happens.