(BIVN) – The fire on Highway 19 in Honomu, set off following a fatal crash between a vehicle and a gas tanker on Saturday, is still burning as of a 10 p.m. news release issued by the Hawaii County Fire Department.
According to fire officials, the passenger vehicle collided head on with Gas Co tanker vehicle on Sept. 2. When first responders arrived, the tanker was upside down with the cab on fire; the driver had already gotten out. The passenger vehicle was found with severe damage, and one female occupant was pronounced dead at scene. Three other passengers, and the Gas Co truck driver, were transported to Hilo Medical Center in various conditions.
Fire officials say approximately 1,750 gallons of liquid propane were on board the overturned tanker truck. The propane caught fire and was venting from the tank. “Due to the large volume of liquid propane (1 gal of liquid propane = roughly 50 cu feet of propane gas at ambient scene temperatures), the fire is still burning as of this writing at 2200 hrs on 9/3,” the fire dispatch reads.
The fire department says the fire has been burning for 32 hours.
The home nearest the accident was evacuated, the fire department says. It was the only evacuation reported.
“The tank is being cooled by water applied by HFD personnel,” the fire dispatch reads. “The Gas Co is on scene, as well as HFD HazMat company.”
Highway 19 in the area of the accident remains closed. “Police continue to divert traffic onto the Old Mamalahoa Highway and ask motorists to drive with caution while approaching the road blocks and while navigating through the detour during hours of darkness,” the county says. “No large trucks will be permitted onto the detour and must use alternate routes.”
The road blocks will remain in effect into Monday.