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Tight-Spaced Rolled Tanker

0 8b79c2016 Donnie Cruse Recovery Award Winner
(Sponsored by B/A Products and AW Direct)
By Kyle Hodges
Hodges Garage; Clover, S.C.

On Jan. 30, 2014, Hodges was called to assess a tanker that had overturned inside of a wash bay and we sent a scene supervisor out in a service truck to assess the situation.

Upon arrival at the scene, the plant safety managers informed us that the 48' stainless steel tanker weighing 60,000 lbs. was placed inside the wash bay to prevent freezing of the sludge inside of tanker.

After driving the tractor out from under the trailer, the landing gear was accidentally parked on a drainage grate. The weight of the tanker collapsed the grate, causing the tanker to roll over.

The tanker collided with the dividing wall, breaking through a section of the load-bearing cinderblock wall.

Upon inspecting the condition of the tanker, the rear of the tank was suspended 3' above ground level and resting against the load-bearing wall. The front of the tanker was collapsed to the ground against the dividing wall.

We decided to call Hunter Auto & Wrecker in Charlotte, N.C., to send their Peterbilt/Jerr-Dan 85-ton rotator to assist in rolling the tanker, due to the narrow room on the front and the company's persistence to save the landing gears and tank.

The rotator was needed to reach over and lift the tank and rotate to prevent the landing gears from touching the ground.

We returned to gather the required equipment and came back to the accident site with our Peterbilt/Jerr-Dan 35-ton independent boom wrecker and service truck.

After discussing the plan and determining the approach, we began rigging for the recovery. The weight inside the tanker was 60,000 lbs. and some of the load had already escaped through a damaged manhole on top of the tank.

The 35-ton was backed up to the rear of the tanker to utilize one line to lift the tank and one line to spike the rear of the tank chassis.

The estimated weight on each line of the 35-ton wrecker was figured to be 5,625 lbs. Using a 1/2" Grade 100 chain, a low line was attached to the frame of the tanker just behind the tandems down to an 8-ton snatch block.

A 12' round sling with a vertical working load limit of 13,200 lbs. was threaded between the tanker and damaged wall to lift the top side of the tank and was attached to the frame with another 1/2" Grade 100 chain.

All rigging on rear was attached to 5/8" steel-core wire rope with a working load limit of 11,600 lbs. After stabilizing the rear to prevent the tank from slipping down the wall, the next objective was to rig the front of the tanker.

Knowing that the weight on the front was around 30,000 lbs., a WreckMaster Wrinkle with a working load limit of 50,000 lbs. was used to attach straps to the kingpin of the tanker to lift and rotate the front of the tank to try and save the landing gears.

Attached to the Wrinkle were two 10' blue round slings each with a vertical working load limit of 21,200 lbs. attached to two independent 3/4" steel-core wire rope each with a working load limit of 16,560 lbs.

After all the lines were tightened, all three operators walked around the tank inspecting all rigging to ensure nothing was hooked improperly or had become unhooked during rigging. The building was then cleared of all unauthorized personnel except the three towing operators.

We began the rotation by first lifting with the front truck to level out the trailer; the roll was operated smoothly and with great control.

After the tank was held for about 15 minutes to ensure the sludge had settled back at the bottom of the tank, the landing gear was cranked down to allow another tractor to back under the tank and remove it from the building.

WreckMaster said this recovery was selected because the recovery team worked efficiently together, communicated effectively and executed the recovery in a professional manner.

This article appeared in the April 2017 issue of American Towman Magazine.

The Donnie Awards are sponsored by WreckMaster, B/A Products and AW Direct and are presented at the American Towman Exposition in Baltimore, Md. in November. Has your tow company worked a recovery job that you feel is worthy of a Donnie Award? Submit your entry to American Towman Editor Brendan Dooley at
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