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Propane tanker no longer burning in Irasburg, but bridge remains closed

A tank on fire in a river.
Vermont State Police
As of late Tuesday night, the propane tanker that fell into the Black River Monday morning was no longer on fire.

The crashed propane tanker in Irasburg is no longer burning, but officials say a bridge is now impassable and will likely need replacing.

Authorities say residents that were evacuated Monday have since returned home, and schools resumed normal operations on Tuesday.

The propane tanker caught fire early Monday morning after going off a bridge along Route 14 and falling into the Black River, according to Vermont State Police. No injuries were reported, including the driver of the truck.

The truck burned from Monday morning until late Tuesday night, according to Irasburg Fire Chief Robin Beaton.

A one-mile radius was initially cleared due to concerns for additional explosions. That risk decreased Monday afternoon, VSP said, after drone footage revealed a puncture in the tanker.

Beaton says a HAZMAT team was on the scene while the propane continued burning.

“It didn't blow up, so we got lucky. Because it being under that bridge, it would have ripped that bridge right off the road,” Beaton says.

Three out of five of the bridge’s beams did melt, making it likely that the bridge will need to be replaced. Beaton expects the state to provide a temporary bridge soon.

A half-mile of Route 14 in Irasburg is expected to remain closed for several days.

The now-damaged bridge was the “safest and most convenient” route for large trucks and tankers to travel into Irasburg, according to Beaton.

The propane from the tanker has reached a solid state, Beaton says, and is no longer emitting gases.

“We should be back to normal living, hoping by nine o'clock tonight,” Beaton says. “This should be a forgotten thing, I'm hoping. It's drained our capabilities for a small town… you know, it kind of hurt us.”

He says wreckers are examining the crash scene today to see how they can remove the tanker from the river.

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Zoe McDonald is a digital producer in Vermont Public’s newsroom. Previously, she served as the multimedia news producer for WBHM, central Alabama’s local public radio station. Before she discovered her love for public media, she created content for brands like Insider, Southern Living and Health. She graduated with a degree in journalism from the University of Mississippi in 2017. Zoe enjoys reading, drinking tea, trying new recipes and hiking with her dog.
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