The KA-BOOM that never happened !

It was noon-time on a fall afternoon….I think it was 1963.  I was working in my shop when I heard sirens howling and a lot of commotion at the Seaview Garage on Summer St.!   Well, my curiosity got to me.  I was meandering through Charlie Langille’s orchard when a blast of gasoline fumes nearly knocked me over!  As I  rounded the corner of the garage, I saw a gasoline tanker in a jack-knife position with gas spurting from the lower side of the tank!  Gasoline was running out onto Summer St., and running down toward Seaview Ave.  One fire truck was on scene, another was very close, and more were coming on Church St.  I was very uncomfortable!  There were  two employees standing in the wide doorway smoking cigarettes!!   And then the Fire Chief shows up with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth!!  I decided then that the Seaview Garage was doomed !  I went back to my truck for my camera.

Looking north on Summer St. Warren Ave. on the right.

 My return to Summer St. was two-plus houses away from this gonna-be-disaster!  The gasoline had reached Seaview Ave., and was being contained as best as they could do.  There was no foam available.
The fumes were overwhelming!  A truck-load of sand showed up and the workers did a good job of keeping the flow from running further down Summer St.

Summer St. and Seaview on the right looking north.

I got three shots and ran out of film with no back up! I watched in amazement,  realizing that with all the action a spark from anywhere would have been a disaster for the Garage as well as the abutting homes!
This happened because the tanker truck was not the usual large tanker with eight wheels under the tank.  It only had one axle and four wheels with no fuel company logo on it.   It was a gypsy delivery company and new to the area. The regulars would come from the northerly direction on Summer St., turn onto Station St. southerly to the end, and make a turn northerly on Summer St. They would then stop and unload, heading north to leave without any turning. The gypsy made a tight turn to head back northbound, and as he did an angle iron support holding the mud flaps pierced the tank. Nothing could be moved because ripping it back out could have created a spark and KA-BOOM !

Looking south on Summer St., Seaview Ave. on the left

I kept my distance!  The Fire Department stayed well into the night keeping vigil, and the sand truck crews continued unloading much sand on Summer St.   The gasoline did evaporate and the sand was swept up and removed without incident.

The Fire Department unbolted the angle iron support and removed it from the near-empty tank, under a full stream of water preventing any spark……an extremely dangerous operation!   KUDOS to the Fire Department !  BOO-DOS to the smokers !

W. Ray Freden,      The Village of Seaview.  1934 – 2005.



                                       West Pembroke, Maine, 2005-  ?

Sea Smoke in our bay



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