September 23, 2019
ALBANY, NY – From Governor Cuomo:
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo earlier today deployed emergency responders from the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, Department of Transportation, Department of Environmental Conservation Spills Response, and State Police to assist with an accident after a truck carrying compressed natural gas overturned on I-88 at Exit 2 in the town of Fenton, Broome County. The accident resulted in one fatality.
“When serious accidents happen, the state jumps into action to help and our emergency responders move heaven and earth to protect our communities,” Governor Cuomo said. “Earlier this morning I directed state personnel from a number of agencies to go to the scene and provide any assistance necessary to help resolve the situation as quickly and safely as possible.”
The State Department of Transportation has nearly 50 maintenance and traffic signal staff from Broome and Chenango counties actively responding to the crash. Highway maintenance staff have set up road and ramp closures between the I-88/I-81 interchange and I-88 Exit 6. Six Variable Message Signs (VMS) along Route 17, I-88 and I-81 warn motorists of the closure, and five portable VMS have been deployed to various locations along the detour routes. Regional staff members are on-scene coordinating the multi-agency response, as well as assisting at the Broome County Emergency Operations Center and at DOT’s Regional Operation Center.
Out of an abundance of caution, Broome County has declared a State of Emergency and evacuated a radius of one-quarter mile from the accident. After conducting a full assessment of the situation on the ground, Emergency Services personnel will vent or flare off the gas, which is anticipated to take several hours. Traffic is currently being diverted around the accident and the nearby railroad line. Schools in the area are also closed for the day as a precaution.
Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) is less volatile than gasoline because of its high ignition temperature—about 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. CNG has narrow flammability limits; in concentrations in air below about 5 percent and above about 15 percent, natural gas will not burn. The high ignition temperature and limited flammability range make accidental combustion of CNG unlikely. Emergency Services personnel are taking every precaution to protect the public and safely vent the gas to bring this incident to a swift and safe resolution.
The response to this incident is ongoing and additional information will be provided as it becomes available.