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Firefighters extinguish fuel tanker fire in Rockville Centre

A fuel truck on fire Tuesday on Sunrise

A fuel truck on fire Tuesday on Sunrise Highway in Rockville Centre. Credit: John Scalesi

Fortune smiled Tuesday on a truck driver transporting 10,000 gallons of fuel — and on a Rockville Centre gas station.

A fire in the tanker truck’s cab forced the driver, who was headed east on Sunrise Highway, to pull over, Rockville Centre Fire Department Chief Brian Cook said.

The driver stopped right next to the BP gas station at Ocean Avenue, the chief said.

Cook said he reached the fire — called in at noon — within two or three minutes.

“We saw a heavy column of smoke while we were responding,” the chief said.

That led him to immediately request all units to battle what could have been an explosive blaze, had any fuel vapors ignited.

“The cab of the truck was fully involved upon my arrival,” he said.

“The fire was impinging onto the 10,000 gallons of fuel. Eventually, it would have heated up enough to explode,” or spill the fuel, he said.

The tanker truck bears the name “Island Transportation,” according to a photograph. A company official, who declined to be named, said it was carrying fuel oil. The driver, he said, is well-respected in the industry.

Cook said the first engine, arriving within five minutes, tapped a hydrant and began pouring water on the truck’s cab.

The location borders Lynbrook, and its fire department also responded, turning its hoses on the tanker to keep the fuel cool, Cook said.

The fire did not spread to the gas station, though Cook said that was one of the risks.

“If the fire had not been knocked down as quick as it was, it would have extended to the gas station,” the chief said.

About 30 to 40 firefighters extinguished the blaze. No injuries were reported, Cook said.

“Both the Rockville Centre and Lynbrook [fire departments] did a great job, and worked well together to get this situation under control. It could have gotten a lot worse,” Cook said.

“The training we do every day really paid off,” he added.

What caused the fire is not yet known. Nassau County’s hazmat team, and the state departments of highway and transportation were notified, Cook said.

Gas station owner Hitendra Shah said the station, which was not damaged, has reopened, and the fuel is being transferred to another truck.

Cook estimated the fire caused about five gallons of diesel fuel, which was used to power the tanker truck, to spill. As for the tanker truck itself, Shah said: “The whole engine got burnt, and the right tire burst.”

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