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Police expect evacuation zone to remain as long as crashed propane tanker burns in Irasburg

A tank on fire in a river.
Vermont State Police
Vermont State Police an evacuation zone within a one-mile radius of the propane tanker crash will stay in effect as long as the fire continues burning.

This story was last updated at 8:37 p.m. Dec. 4.

Evacuations and road closures are expected to stay in place overnight while a crashed propane tanker continues burning — that's according to Vermont State Police.

The truck has been ablaze since early Monday morning, when police say the truck went off a bridge along Route 14 in Irasburg and fell into the Black River.

VSP said the crash damaged safety mechanisms in the truck, which they originally believed posed a risk for additional explosions.

A large blaze can be seen off the side of a snowy road
Irasburg and Orleans Fire Department
Police say a propane tanker caught fire early Monday morning after going off a bridge along Route 14 in Irasburg and falling into the Black River.

First responders, residents and two local schools within a one-mile radius of the crash were evacuated. Multiple roads also closed in Irasburg and Coventry, including Vermont Route 14, Route 58, Alderbrook Road and U.S. Route 5.

A Red Cross shelter has opened at Irasburg Town Hall for evacuees. Police also say parents of students at Coventry Village School and New Hope Bible School should contact their school administrator on Tuesday morning to learn if there will be classes.

Monday afternoon, VSP said inspection of the truck by a drone showed a puncture in the side of the tanker, which “reduces the possibility of a catastrophic explosion.”

Crews continue to monitor the fire, VSP says, and the fire will likely burn until the propane has been used up. Until then, police say an evacuation zone will remain in place.

No injuries have been reported, including the driver of the propane truck.

The crash is being investigated by the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles Enforcement and Safety Division, and police say the Vermont Hazardous Materials Response Team has also responded.

We will continue to bring you updates as they are made available.

Have questions, comments or tips? Send us a message.

Elodie is a reporter and producer for Vermont Public. She previously worked as a multimedia journalist at the Concord Monitor, the St. Albans Messenger and the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript, and she's freelanced for The Atlantic, the Christian Science Monitor, the Berkshire Eagle and the Bennington Banner. In 2019, she earned her MFA in creative nonfiction writing from Southern New Hampshire University.
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