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Burning Tanker Truck Deemed 'Non-Hazardous'

Cause of blaze that closed Route 206 Tuesday afternoon remains under investigation.

A 1,000-gallon tanker carrying 100 gallons of oil burst into flames Tuesday afternoon on Route 206 in Chester.

According to police, Patrolman Stephen Notte and Patrolman Matthew Bohn responded to a tanker truck fire on Route 206 North, just south of the Old Chester Road intersection at about 2 p.m.

Police said William Letcher, of Toms River, was traveling up Route 206 in a 2007 International Truck owned by Defino Contracting Co. when he heard a loud pop under the hood and saw smoke start to show from the wheel wells of the vehicle.

Letcher stopped the vehicle and was able to exit the cab before it became engulfed in flames, police said.

According to Letcher, who was not injured in the incident, the tanker only contained 100 gallons of water-based non-hazardous tack oil that is used in paving.

"The fire was not caused by an accident and there are no injuries involved," Chester Township Police Chief Wayne Martini said. 

The fire was quickly extinguished by Chester, Fairmount, Randolph and Ralston Fire departments before the fire could reach the tank portion of the truck.  Morris County Hazmat also responded to the scene. 

"The volunteer fire department did a great job knocking it down and containing it," Martini said. "The fire was an engine fire. We were fortunate it didn't spread to the cab or reach any of the oil in the tanker."

Traffic was diverted down Old Chester Road with the assistance of Peapack-Gladstone Police and NJDOT. The road was re-opened around 4 p.m..

According to Martini, the supporting engines that were assisting in the cleanup were more precautionary.

"There was no hazmat situation," Martini said. "And everyone here did a great job containing it."

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Editor's note: a previous version of this story stated the tanker was had a 100 gallon capacity. While it was carrying 100 gallons of oil at the time of the fire, its actual capacity was 1,000 gallons.

Jon September 25, 2012 at 10:06 PM
What about the incident that occurred last night on Schooley's Mountain Road next to the General Store? The Marine Emergency Spill Response Team was still there today (all having pizza in the parking lot while having their trucks parked in such a way as to make it extremely hazardous to get out of the parking lot due to complete lack of visibility in BOTH directions up and down Schooley's Mountain Rd.) I assume this means there was some sort of spill of hazardous material into a stream or waterway. Was it reported and I just missed it?
Outoftheloop September 26, 2012 at 09:47 AM
Jon,yes it was reported and you missed it
Kevin September 26, 2012 at 02:17 PM
it was reported. Hence why there was a clean up company there!!! (Makes sense doesnt it) Where else are they going to park? There isnt many parking lots around there and usually the parking lot is full of vehicles. There was a lot of people who had to respond to make sure the spill didnt affect the stream or waterway.
Jon September 26, 2012 at 08:47 PM
Sorry Kevin, I meant: Was it reported here on the Patch? I looked for several minutes and couldn't find the article about it. I realized it was reported to the authorities, since the spill response team was there. Sorry, I didn't word the question very well.
Liberty September 26, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Good job!

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