October 13, 2017 8:52 am
Updated: October 14, 2017 2:09 pm

College Drive opens after semi carrying anhydrous ammonia removed

WATCH ABOVE: It took 24 hours for College Drive to reopen after a semi hauling anhydrous ammonia flipped. Meaghan Craig looks at the procedures that were in place to ensure public safety.

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College Drive has reopened 24 hours after a semi-truck carrying anhydrous ammonia was cleared from the scene.

“I am relieved that it’s over and if we would have had a leak or a rupture in those vessels, we could have been in a different situation today,” Saskatoon Fire Department Chief Morgan Hackl said.

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The semi rolled on its side in the eastbound lane of College near Circle Drive at around 8:30 a.m. CT on Thursday.

Crews managed to get the tanker upright at around 2 a.m. Friday, which involved co-ordination between Transport Canada, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment and the Saskatoon Fire Department to ensure public safety.

All of the anhydrous ammonia was completely offloaded by 7 a.m.

Crews then used a crane to move the tankers onto flatbed trailers as they were too damaged to be towed.

“In terms of incident safety, the incident went very well. It was safe for our citizens and also safe for the staff that were operating in the area for the past 24 hours.”

College Drive has reopened 24 hours after a semi-truck carrying anhydrous ammonia was cleared from the scene.

Crews then used a crane to move the tankers onto flatbed trailers as they were too damaged to be towed.

College Drive from Circle Drive to Central Avenue was closed the entire time leaving drivers looking for alternative routes.

Traffic signals were adjusted at key intersections to ensure better traffic flow and city officials said those will be returned to normal.

WATCH BELOW: College Drive closed after semi carrying anhydrous ammonia rolls

No anhydrous ammonia leaked from the tanker when it rolled on Thursday morning, therefore area residents were not evacuated.

“The worst case scenario – this tanker would have flipped over, ruptured the tank, anhydrous ammonia would have been released into the air,” Hackl said.

“In a liquid state, anhydrous ammonia burns the skin. If a person inhales even though it’s a small portion of per parts per million of anhydrous ammonia, it has an affinity with water so it can damage your lungs.”

According to Hackl, the hazardous product inside the tanker would be in a liquid state but if it were to rupture, it would escape in the form of a compressed gas.

“The scene is very safe and we are taking every precaution to make sure we take care of our city and our citizens,” Hackl said.

WATCH BELOW: Saskatoon Fire Department Chief Morgan Hackl on how they are dealing with the anhydrous ammonia

The fire department worked with Transport Canada to determine how to safely turn the semi and tanker upright.

“A water curtain is in place, we feel that the scene is secure, the scene is safe,” Hackl said.

“We will be prepared with hand lines to spray water if there’s any chance of a leak occurring.”

WATCH: Saskatoon Fire Department Chief Morgan Hackl with an update on the rollover of a semi hauling anhydrous ammonia on College Drive. 

Hackl said this is the first time he’s seen anything like this in his 30 years with the department.

In total, 10 agencies collectively responded to the incident. While teams tackled how to divert traffic off-scene, fire crews worked in four-hour shifts on scene.

Those inside the command centre stayed the entire 24 hours, working through worst case scenarios and ways to intervene.

“Would I say everything went off without a hitch? I would say things went very well,” Hackl said.

“Every step we took, we had success.”

College Drive has reopened 24 hours after a semi-truck carrying anhydrous ammonia was cleared from the scene.

It is still unclear what caused the semi-truck to tip over or if charges will be laid against the driver who was uninjured in the crash.

Hackl also confirmed that the driver was using one of the city’s allocated routes for transporting dangerous goods.

“This is standard practice for trucking companies across Canada.”

All 10 agencies will now document their involvement in the incident, what went right and any improvements that could be applied to similar situations in the future.

Meaghan Craig contributed to this story

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