LPG tanks explode as truck flips on SLExBy Nathaniel R. Melican
Philippine Daily Inquirer
It was just like a car chase scene in an action movie, complete with a catastrophic explosion in which the villains get taken out.
However, there was neither hero nor villain or even a car chase on the southbound lane of the South Luzon Expressway (SLEx) Monday morning when a six-wheel truck full of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) tanks fell on its side, leading to several explosions which left the truck a wreck and traffic snarled for hours.
Ruben Padilla, a monitoring officer of Skyway Command Center, said their security cameras captured the accident which occurred at 6:44 a.m. near the Sucat exit in Parañaque City.
“Initial reports that we received were that the driver had lost control of the truck before the explosion,” Padilla told the Inquirer over the phone.
The footage taken by one of Skyway O&M Corp.’s rotating cameras showed the Isuzu Elf truck swerving from left to right before it fell on its side.
Other cameras then showed truck driver Romulo Ramos and his helper, Ryan Villanueva, getting out of the vehicle and running away just as flames began to engulf it.
A few moments later, the explosions—caught on camera as flashes of light and darting flames—from the more than 50 LPG cylinders stored at the back of the truck came in thick and fast. Each blast violently ejected bits and pieces of the truck and parts of some of the LPG tanks as well.
In one frame, an LPG canister that was on fire came rolling out of the truck and into the fence separating the expressway from the West Service Road.
The explosions were so intense that tongues of fire constantly hit the underside of the elevated Skyway. Traffic on the southbound lane came to a complete stop and people could only watch as the truck burned.
“At the worst point of the incident, we had traffic backed up to the Bicutan exit. Northbound, traffic was at a standstill up to the
Alabang viaduct,” Padilla said.
He added that the fire due to the explosions was put out at
7:10 a.m. and what was left of the truck was towed away around 8:30 a.m. Traffic began returning to normal an hour later.
No one was hurt in the accident except for the truck driver’s helper who suffered bruises in his rush to get out of the vehicle. He was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.
The Skyway management, on the other hand, decided to close down the outermost lane of its southbound portion from the Sucat exit in the aftermath of the accident.
“It will remain closed to traffic as our engineers have to carry out structural tests to determine if the area is still safe for regular traffic,” Padilla said.
This was after Polyvinyl chloride pipes used to drain water from the elevated road melted while several lighting fixtures attached to its underside burst after being exposed to the flames. In addition, parts of the metal fence separating the service road from the expressway was riddled with holes due to the explosions.