It’s kind of a rare sight to see the a New York City expressway completely devoid of traffic. It’s almost eerie in fact. You’d expect this scene in a post-apocalyptic Hollywood movie like I Am Legend or Escape From New York, but to see it with you own eyes is something else. This was the scene a couple of weeks ago in Williamsburg, Brooklyn on the I-278 (better known to us New Yorkers as the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway). Normally, around rush hour, this northbound section is one of the most congested in the whole city. So what scared all the cars away?
And what caused the locals to stop what they were doing and gawk at the roadway from the overpass?
Why, a major accident of course. Apparently a fuel truck had jumped the divider and was leaking dangerously flammable diesel. The incident occurred around 6pm on July 13th and blocked all northbound traffic for a few hours until it was all sorted out. The pictures were taken at roughly 7pm when I arrived on the scene. NYCfire.net explains the rundown of the correspondence leading to the cleanup effort.
Box 8869 – BQE and Bedford Avenue E/B
Disp 139: EMS Box 8869 for a vehicle leaking fuel
L108: is it on the BQE?
Disp to BC31: now receiving auto accident possibly with a vehicle hanging over the rail
BC31 requests a 10-12
L108: the accident is on the BQE E/B just before the Kent Ave Exit – we have an oil truck up on the divider – seems to be leaking some product
BC31: I’m 10-84 – have PD respond we are going to close off the highway for now – we have a jack-knifed fuel truck over the divider
Disp tries to raise BC31 unsuccessfully
BC31: Box 8869 we have a gasoline tanker truck whose diesel tanks have ruptured – we’re going to need a Squad – have Hazmat contact us on the 800MHZ – we have the E/B BQE shutdown – we’ll also need a Sanitation sander – we’re using 2 and 2
BC31: we have EMS on the scene – it was the tanker truck and another vehicle – they appear to be minor injuries – however we do need PD – have the incoming units and PD respond to the BQE E/B on the corner of Williamsburg St and Hewes(sp?) St – they can enter that way and turn around and come back to us – about 50 yards k
Disp: how much fuel has spilled?
BC31: These are the diesel tanks that supply the motor – the gasoline tanks are in tact – approx 20-30 gallons
BC31: Continuing to use 2 and 2 – we have a precautionary foam line stretched – we’re awaiting the arrival of the additional units k
DC11 requests a ticket
DC11 is 10-84
BC31: the tanker is empty – if any incoming units are having difficulty getting on the BQE they can get on at Metropolitan Ave and come in against traffic – the highway is still shutdown
DC11: Box 8869 we’ll have the BQE closed for a considerable amount ot time – tanker is on the divider – the tanker is empty – however the shadow tank is leaking – Hazmat on the scene – one precautionary line stretched – PWH
Disp to DC11: still using the 2 and 2?
Some pedestrian video from the opposite side of the highway:
As for me, I eventually needed the BQE to get home, and so I reversed the car onto this Metropolitan Avenue Exit and enjoyed an empty highway ride home at rush hour.