ANNA — First responders were busy in Anna, Thursday morning, Feb. 27.
At the east end of town, there was a diesel fuel spill.
At the west end of town, there was a semi blocking the railroad tracks. At the same time.
At about 6 a.m., the Anna Fire Department got a tip from a customer at the Shell gas station that a semi was leaking diesel fuel.
About two and a half hours later, a different semi got stuck on the approach to the CSX Railroad tracks that split the village on West Main Street.
The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office and the Anna Fire Department responded to the first incident. The Anna Police Department responded to the second.
Greg Travis, of Kalida, driving for Midwest Logistics Systems, of Celina, was hauling a load of frame assembly parts from Kalida to the Honda plant in St. Paris when a tire on his tractor-trailer blew. Driving along Interstate 75, he was about a 10th of a mile from the Anna exit when it happened, and he wisely got the rig off the interterstate and pulled into the Shell station.
“The interstate is dangerous,” Travis told the Sidney Daily News, explaining why he didn’t just stop at the side of the road.
When the tire separated, a piece of it hit and punctured the fuel tank on the semi, but Travis didn’t realize that until he had stopped the truck.
It’s the first time such a freak accident had happened to him in 42 years of truck driving, he said.
Anna Deputy Fire Chief Tom Bergman said the Environmental Protection Agency had been called because diesel fuel is considered a hazardous material. He estimated that about 40 gallons of fuel had spilled.
A spokesman for Midwest Logistics Systems said workers onsite were able to plug the hole and contain the spill, thereby preventing a larger environmental problem.
“We have a company we hire that comes out and cleans this up. We’re letting them handle that. No drains are affected. It’s a contained spill,” the spokesman said.
Mike Homan, Anna village administrator, said that the haz-mat clean-up crew arrived on the scene at about 11:20 a.m. and completed the job just before 2 p.m.
“We were checking for run-off, but it was all handled, cleaned up and carried away,” he said.
Meanwhile, in downtown Anna, police had blocked off Main Street from county Road 25A to the railroad tracks as crews worked to free a semi that was unable to make it across the tracks at about 8:30 a.m. The Sycamore Specialized Carriers Inc. truck was traveling east with an oversized load.
There is a slight grade in the road approaching the tracks, and the trailer was too low to the ground to make the grade. It scraped the roadway and got stuck.
According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, an off-duty patrolman was escorting the semi from Minster to the interstate when the incident occurred. The OSHP said there was no damage to the train tracks.
A CSX spokesperson said CSX stopped traffic on the line and with local law enforcement present ,protected the crossing while the truck was cleared. Shortly after 10 a.m. the semi-was cleared from the tracks, and normal train operations continued.
“At CSX, safety is our priority, and there were no injuries. CSX appreciates the efforts of local law enforcement in helping to secure the area,” the spokesperson said in an email.
It took two, heavy-duty, tow trucks to pull the trailer up off the pavement and get the semi going again. The incident lasted about an hour and a half.
Calls to Sycamore Specialized Carriers and the Anna Police Department for more information were not returned.