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Tanker trailer causes scare

DICKINSON - A tanker trailer at Continental Metal Products in east Dickinson began smoldering on Monday after employees used a cutting torch on it at about 2:51 p.m.

DICKINSON - A tanker trailer at Continental Metal Products in east Dickinson began smoldering on Monday after employees used a cutting torch on it at about 2:51 p.m.

Dickinson Volunteer Fire Department Chief Bob Sivak said the employees were in the process of cutting parts off the trailer to resell them when it began smoking.

"They were cutting some pieces of metal axle and things like that off of this old tanker and the tanker at one time had carried molten sulfur," Sivak said. "There was some residual molten sulfur in between the shell of the double wall tanker, which isn't uncommon."

He said the sulfur wasn't actually smoldering in the tank itself, but in between the two walls of the trailer.

"When they fill these things, if they overfill them, the sulfur will spill out," Sivak said. "A lot of times some will get between...the shell and that's what happened to this one."

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Sivak said the heat from the cutting torch ignited the sulfur.

"It doesn't really burn so much as smolder, which caused the insulation blanket between the inner and outer shell of the trailer to start smoldering also," Sivak said.

He said employees stayed upwind from the trailer and immediately called the fire department. Two fire trucks and five firefighters responded to the call.

"They were able, with their machinery, to pull the outer skin back and as they did that, we were able to spray water on it, which stopped it right away," Sivak said.

He added if left alone, the tanker likely would have stopped smoldering on its own.

"Because it was actually between two metal shells, it would have continued to smolder...and I suppose eventually it would have burned itself out," Sivak said. "The problem is, though, with the sulfur burning, it does emit sulfur dioxide."

Sivak said nobody was hurt during this incident.

In an unrelated incident, Stark County Sheriff's Capt. Lawrence Kitzman said on Tuesday a man was burning weeds by a tree row on his property five miles southwest of South Heart.

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According to the report, a Stark County resident called authorities around 10:30 p.m. on Monday to report Ralph Froehlich was violating the countywide burn ban.

Froehlich told Deputy Todd Weiler the thought the burn ban had been lifted.

The report has been forwarded to the Stark County State's Attorney's Office.

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