Truck driver Rod Cardinal was driving from Alberta to the Gibraltar Mine near Williams Lake, B.C., Canada, delivering 40 metric tons of ammonium nitrate, a chemical compound used in about 80% of explosives in North America.
On Nov. 6th, he noticed smoke seeping through the carpet of his cab. Cardinal knew he had a fire so he immediately pulled over from the Trans-Canada Highway and used 2 of his fire extinguishers. The extinguishers did nothing. With the truck still on fire, “That’s when I stopped, hopped out, dropped the trailer, pulled the tractor as far as I could” explained Cardinal
Kamloops fire rescue could not respond because the event took place outside their jurisdiction. Police did manage an evacuation order of over 1,500 metre radius and citizens were taken to a facility nearby.
The fire eventually died down by the early evening and did not spread to the cargo. People were able to return home and the highway was reopened before 6:30 p.m.
It was thanks for Rod Cardinal’s quick thinking that the incident didn’t escalate to something catastrophic.