Fire log11/20/08

Nov. 20, 2008

Snow disrupts commutes

During Tuesday’s brief bouts of heavy snow, which occurred during the morning and afternoon commutes, the Williston Fire Department responded to 12 incidents, nine of which were weather related.

Many of the calls were single vehicle accidents, reported Fire Chief Ken Morton, but there were some other larger incidents. Morton said there was one call in the 2 a.m. hour during a brief snowfall, and then substantially more calls beginning at 7:30 a.m. The heavy snow and traffic caused for slick conditions before road crews could get out to treat the roads, Morton said.

A five-car accident occurred on Oak Hill Road during morning rush hour, partially on the bridge over Interstate 89. The police and fire departments shut down the road because the cars were, according to Morton, “spread all across the road.” No injuries were reported and only one car needed towing.

Around the same time, there was a four-car accident on Interstate 89 near the exit 12 southbound off ramps.

Soon after both incidents, a two-car accident was reported on Route 2A near the St. George town line. The accident held up traffic on both sides of the road for a long time, and both cars were totaled in the wreck, Morton said.

Morton said the arrival of snow during the busy drive times of morning and late afternoon contributed to the number of accidents. He admits there were probably some drivers not yet in winter driving mode, but believes the high number of incidents would have occurred at the same rate later in the winter.

“If we have a burst of snow like yesterday, we’re going to have accidents,” Morton said on Wednesday.

Gas leak

At 9 a.m. on Oct. 27, fire crews responded to a home on Bayberry Lane for a possible gas leak. The homeowner contacted the fire department after smelling a strong odor of propane. Three firefighters searched the house for possible leaks, but did not find any. The homeowner was instructed to have the furnace cleaned, as it had not been done in several years.

Fire Chief Ken Morton said there is an increase in these types of calls as the winter progresses. It’s a time of year when people close up their homes to stay warm and start to notice possible gas odors. It’s also the time of year when people fire up their furnaces, which, if not maintained properly, can lead to dangerous carbon monoxide buildup.

Morton recommended that homeowners check carbon monoxide vents on the outside of their homes to make sure the vents aren’t obstructed by snow.

“Once the vent is covered by snow, there’s nowhere for the gas to go but back into the house,” Morton said.

Car accident

A two-car accident was reported at the corner of Bradley Lane and Old Creamery Road at 7:36 a.m. on Nov. 12. According to Fire Chief Ken Morton, the morning sun blinded the driver of a Pontiac Fiero, whose windshield had not been completely defrosted. The vehicle crossed over the center line and struck a Chrysler Sebring head on.

The driver of the Pontiac reported head and neck soreness and was transported to Fletcher Allen Health Care by St. Michael’s College Rescue Service. The driver of the Chrysler refused treatment.

Six firefighters responded to the scene on Engine 3 and helped clean up the fluid and debris in the road.