Tanker fire’s cause unclear

MARIETTA – A truck driver on his way to Perrysville, Ohio, wound up staying in Marietta longer than expected after his tanker caught fire Thursday afternoon.

“I was (planning to stop) here at McDonald’s to get me something to eat, and somebody hollered and told me I was on fire,” said Daniel Manis, 50, of Greenville, Tenn.

It didn’t take him long to verify the motorist’s words.

“About the time I looked back, it went poof. I (saw) black smoke and flames going everywhere,” Manis said.

He said he pulled his rig over on Pike Street near the intersection with Acme Street and attempted to douse the flames with a fire extinguisher. A couple of law enforcement officers used their extinguishers as well, but it took the Marietta Fire Department to put out the blaze.

Firefighters were notified after Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper D.R. Handschumacher contacted Marietta police around 2:58 p.m. Handschumacher said he spotted flames on the tanker as it was exiting from Interstate 77.

Marietta fire Chief C.W. Durham said it took about five minutes for firefighters to extinguish the blaze. Traffic in the southbound lanes of Ohio 7 coming into Marietta was stopped for about half an hour.

After the smoke – which was visible from nearly a mile away- cleared, there was a large hole in the left, rear side of the tanker and the rear tires on that side were ruined.

It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the fire, but Durham said it may have started around the left, rear tires on the tanker. The powdery substance inside, which Manis identified as flint, was not flammable or hazardous, Durham said.

A call to the Marietta Police Department to see whether there would be any citation was not immediately returned Thursday.