Crews respond to riverbank explosion in Sciotodale

Yuvona Morrison

June 25, 2013

Bob Strickley

PDT Content Manager

SCIOTODALE Firefighters responded to the scene of an explosion at Wolfords Landing Campground around 10 p.m. Tuesday evening after a propane tank reportedly detonated on the banks of the Ohio River.

Lt. Jerry Cornwell of the Portsmouth Fire Department told the Daily Times that the explosion knocked residents of the campground from their feet, but there were no injuries. The blast ignited riverside driftwood and other debris.

There was an explosion of something that was in there. It knocked some residents off their feet. It was probably something that has floated down (the river) like maybe a propane tank. Something that had some sort of combustible, Cornwell said.

Cornwell, who responded from Sciotoville Station 4 along with Portsmouth Engine 3 and Engine 5 of the New Boston Fire Department, said when crews arrived, the flames were approximately 20 feet tall spanning an estimated 50 by 30-yard stretch of the river bank.

The fire was isolated to the riverbank and the campground which is elevated from the riverbank was left unharmed.

We put about 4,000 gallons of water on it. We had to climb down to where are those rocks are to get into it, Cornwell said. Its all mud and nails and glass down there. Its pretty well burnt up.

Cornwell said the situation had progressed to a state where the fire department will ask for campground residents to keep an eye on the scene, while the department will be prepared to return in the unlikely event the site of the explosion would reignite.

Its going to smolder and smoke for a while because a lot of the burning stuff is under the rocks, Cornwell said.

Bob Strickley can be reached at 353-3101, ext. 296, or bstrickley@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Bob on Twitter @rjstrickleyjr.