Live wire, blowouts delay tank’s long trip

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 18, 2001

Entergy worker David Goree uses an extension stick Tuesday to lift a 13,000-volt power line that caught the edge of a heavy transport vehicle driven by Steve Sloan, left. (The Vicksburg Post/MELANIE DUNCAN)

[07/18/01] The 1,000-mile trip from Vicksburg to Minnesota for a huge tank did not start out on a good footing Tuesday. The tank snagged a low-hanging electrical line and caused 16 tires to blow out.

As Steve Sloan of Sikeston, Mo., inched his way along Port Terminal Circle about 8:30 a.m. in a heavy-cargo hauler owned by Specialized Hauling of Sikeston, a mounting foot attached to the 120-foot-long tank hooked a wire carrying 13,000 volts, company owner Johnny Watkins said.

The electricity energized the tank and parts of the truck attached to it, causing tires to blow out and fire to be set in grass along the road, Assistant Chief Mike Gettinger of the Vicksburg Fire Department said.

The tank is the last of 10 being built by Efabco, a manufacturer at the E.W. Haining Industrial Center, destined for a customer in Minnesota, Efabco employee Toni Figliuzzi said. She said the vessel is made of inch-thick steel and will be used at a gas-processing plant. The tank has a capacity of 90,000 gallons of carbon dioxide.

“This is the 10th one of these I’ve brought out of here,” Watkins said, adding this is the first time anything has happened.

When the tank hit the wire, Watkins said his driver was concerned he could be shocked if he tried to climb out. With the wire still in contact with the tank, electricity could still be flowing.

After a while Sloan got tired of sitting in the truck waiting for a crew from Entergy Mississippi to remove the wire, so he jumped out.

“He did it all in one motion, opening the door and jumping,” Gettinger said.

Sloan was not injured.

Two crews from Entergy arrived at 9:50 a.m. and David Goree used an extension stick to unhook the wire from the tank.

Then, as the truck was turning onto Haining Road, a set of wheels supporting the middle of the tank twisted around, causing another delay.