How many warnings do we need before we get rid of the hundred or more LPG tanker cars that sit parked only a few hundred yards from the pallet factory on Highway 121 that burned again recently after two similar fires in 2007 and 2013?
The tanker yard escaped in the October fires, and again now when the wind was from the south and the sparks didn’t cross the highway to where the tanker cars still wait. But next time we could have a very different outcome. Just a single ember carried by the wrong wind, and the explosion there would make that exploding propane tank projectile we saw on TV this time look small.
Tanker accidents elsewhere in the USA reported balls of flame from a single tanker explosion that traveled five feet above the ground and took out the local first-responder fire station while consuming everything within a mile in a matter of seconds, setting fires all along the way. And here we have nearly a hundred tanker cars parked end-to-end in dry grasslands with no protection or blast walls – nothing!
Shame on the out-of-town Board members of SMART who needlessly put us at risk by allowing the NWPR railroad to put its storage yard there. Shame on the railway officials who put their profit before the safety of the people and businesses of the South Sonoma Valley who they are placing in peril.
And shame on us if we ignore this latest warning and don’t speak out. It’s time to get rid of the tanker yard before the season of fully-loaded, highly-explosive, LPG tankers is upon us again at the end of another dry year in the Sonoma Valley.
– Norman Gilroy, Schellville