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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingMay 22 - May 28, 2019

A Little Fun in the Sun

0 16c9bBy Jim "Buck" Sorrenti

Eaton Towing, with locations in Williston, North Dakota, and Shelley, Idaho, are a family owned and operated company in business since 1947. Richard Eaton and Dorthy Anderson along with sons Isaac and Richard "Shawn" Eaton (RIP) have built a reputation for being a well-equipped towing, recovery and transport service known for handling difficult recoveries and devoted to customer service.

On March 4, Eaton was called to recover a loaded tanker.

"We got the call from the tanker company who asked us to respond after the first tow company felt they couldn't handle it," Isaac said. "They had decided they didn't have the equipment to safely recover the trailer. Williams County Sheriff's Officers and Alamo Fire Department were on scene. The officers on scene asked us to wait until morning to recover the wreck, as the conditions were slick, and had two blind corners."

The tractor-trailer, loaded with North Dakota crude oil, traveled from Williston to a well pad near Alamo on an emergency load. The driver caught the edge and the trailer slid off, breaking loose and rolling with 238 barrels of oil.

"The storage tanks were full," Isaac said. "We had just had a storm go through dumping 15 inches of snow, with 1/10th an inch of ice underneath it."

Isaac and operator Bryan Shaw responded at daybreak. Bryan with a 35-ton Jerr-Dan heavy and Isaac with his Jerr-Dan 60-ton rotator. The rotator, mounted on a 2016 Kenworth T880, is a rolling memorial to Isaac's brother and partner, Shawn, who passed away on March 11, 2016, from injuries sustained in a vehicle accident.

The temperature was -4 degrees F, so after arriving on scene Isaac and Bryan got dressed for the frigid cold. They did their assessment and blocked off the lane, set up the rotator and started to rig the load.

"Total weights were near 85,000 pounds, and we needed to be able to lift the tail of the tank first as it was nose up," Isaac said. "We had to dig down through five feet of snow, and under the trailer to be able to rig it."

The tanker company had supplied a second tanker to offload to.

"After rigging," Isaac said, "we had to open the fire valves and connect the lines to the trailer we would offload the oil to. Once connected, we tried to offload, only pulling about five percent off; so we lifted as they pulled it off, trying to reduce the liability of a spill."

Once the load was near 45-degrees, the tanker company was able to offload 60 percent of the oil, and Isaac and Bryan were able to upright the tanker.

"They finished offloading as we rigged to winch it onto the road, connected it to the 35-ton using our 5th wheel connections, fixed a few airlines and towed it to our storage lot." Isaac stated, "It's going to be hauled to a tank repair company to assess if it's repairable."

Editor's Note: Look for the print version in an upcoming issue of American Towman Magazine.

Show Yours @ TIW
Do you have a recovery to share with TIW readers? Send some pics and info to our Field Editor Jim "Buck" Sorrenti at ; your story may even be selected for print in American Towman magazine!
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