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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingJune 26 - July 02, 2019

Getting Un-Stuck from a Guard Rail

0 48291by Jim "Buck" Sorrenti

Charles "Chic" Null started Null's Towing in Cochranville, Pennsylvania, in 1958. In 1989, the family owned and operated business was passed on to his son Dain Null. Dain's son Latta is the company's sales manager, while son Jared is the company's operations manager.

At around 10:43 p.m. on Aug. 13, Null's was contacted by the Pennsylvania State Police. A Peterbilt tractor pulling a van trailer loaded with potatoes had struck the center guardrail that divides the on and off ramp for Route 1 southbound at Route 10. The tractor portion of the unit was straddling the guardrail with one of the posts punctured through the driver's side fuel tank.

"The PSP requested we respond to Route 10 at the Route 1 bypass in Lower Oxford Township for a tractor-trailer that was stuck on a guardrail and had a fuel leak," Jared said. "Based on the information we were given, we immediately dispatched one of our heavy-duty sliding rotator recovery units and contacted Null's Recovery & Site Restoration to respond to the scene."

Null's sent their 2019 Kenworth/NRC 50/65 CSR 65-ton sliding rotator and Wilburt light tower, along with support equipment from Null's Recovery & Site Restoration. The support equipment included an incident response truck and road sweeper transported by their 2019 Peterbilt/NRC 20TB.
"Our operator requested that a heavy-duty wrecker and a truck tractor be dispatched to the scene as well, so our 2019 Kenworth with NRC 40CS 40-ton heavy-duty slider and one of our truck tractors were sent," Jared said.

The tank still had fuel in it. The passenger side tank had been shut off, but it did not appear to be holding. The tractor also had two tires that were punctured by the guardrail posts. The fuel had leaked from the tank and ran down the ramp causing a major spill.

Due to the significance of the spill, the equipment would not be able to move into place to remove the tractor-trailer until the spill was contained. The area where Null's equipment would need to set-up was covered with absorbents. The equipment staged at the end of the exit/entrance ramps.

With the spill contained, Null's crew moved their equipment into place to lift the tractor-trailer off of the guardrail so that the fuel spill could be cleaned up from underneath the truck. Extreme caution had to be used to prevent any additional fuel from spilling from the truck's ruptured fuel tank.

The NRC 50/65 CSR 65-ton sliding rotator recovery unit was positioned on the ramp from Route 1 southbound to Route 10 facing the wrong direction and set-up on a work platform. The boom was rotated counter clockwise. A spreader bar was rigged to one of the main boom winch lines and placed over top of the front of the tractor portion of the unit. Rigging was connected from the spreader bar to the truck's front wheels.

While this was being done, the NRC 40CS 40-ton heavy-duty slider was rigged to the back of the tractor to winch it sideways and backwards as the rotator lifted the tractor.

With the rigging in place, the rotator tensioned the rigging and all connections were checked. 

"Our operators donned their wireless communication headsets," Jared said. "The 65-ton sliding rotator and 40-ton heavy-duty slider worked together to lift the fully loaded unit off of the guardrail, rotate the front out back into the lane and winch the truck and trailer sideways, away from the rail. This process was completed without any further fuel leakage.

"Once the truck was clear of the guardrail," he continued, "the 40-ton heavy-duty slider hooked to the front of the tractor to move it out of the area where the spill was. Our tractor hooked to the fully-loaded trailer to move it out of the area where the spill was as well. "

NR&SR then pumped the remaining fuel from the truck. Null's crew worked to assist NR&SR with spreading absorbents on the area where the tractor-trailer had been sitting on top of the guardrail, sweeping, and picking up the absorbents from the road. The truck parts knocked off by the rail were picked up.

 The truck and trailer were transported from the accident scene to Null's Cochranville facility where they were placed in a secure storage yard.

"After the DOT Inspection was complete, the trailer and load of potatoes were transported to a local processing facility," Jared said. "A huge 'thank you' to the Union Fire Company Number 1 of Oxford for their help on scene with traffic control! As always, it is greatly appreciated!"

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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