The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


October 14, 2013

Boom lift hits power lines, knocks out electricity to 1,028

LEWISBURG — MIDDLEBURG — An AmeriGas delivery truck was left a charred wreck and more than 1,000 PPL customers in the Middleburg area were without power for several hours Monday after a boom lift replacing a large propane tank touched high-power wires overhead.

The accident occurred at about 12:30 p.m. at the Dollar General store, 611 E. Main St., according to Dwayne Hackenberg, chief of the Reliance Hose Company. An unidentified AmeriGas delivery man was treated for minor injuries at the scene.

The accident happened during a switch of large propane tanks, according to Reliance first-responders at the scene. A boom used to lift the tank went too high and connected with the wires, sending energy down and through the truck and starting a fire, they said.

The force blew out the front windshield and blackened the front end of the truck. The engine compartment was ruined by fire.

The blast did not ignite the building, Hackenberg said, but did burn some materials, such as insulation. Blackened scorch marks were on the aluminum-sided building, and firefighters took apart some pieces to check for hot spots.

The fire knocked out electricity to 1,028 PPL customers in the Middleburg area. Power had been restored to all by deadline Monday night.

The Dollar General store filled with smoke, prompting evacuation of four employees. No customers were in the store at the time, Hackenberg said.

A Dollar General district manager at the scene, who declined to be named, would not comment on the incident or the building and referred questions to the company’s public relations office at its headquarters in Goodlettsville, Tenn.

Responding with Reliance were fire companies from Kreamer, Middleburg and Shamokin Dam. A Penns Creek ambulance also responded.

Traffic along Route 522 was slowed for about an hour. Middleburg police and state police also assisted at the scene.

Damage estimates were not available at deadline. The investigation continues.

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