Tanker truck of ethanol catches fire in Lexington

LEXINGTON, N.C. — Donnell Griffin lives on Beck’s Church Road where every day she says tankers speeding through her neighborhood cause her to live in fear.

Her concern has been heightened after the back tires of a tanker filled with 8,000 gallons of ethanol caught fire Wednesday night, nearly exploding yards away from her home.

“It shook the house,” Griffin said. “We could feel it as much as we could hear it.”

“If it weren’t for the firefighters last night pouring water on that rig, it probably would have blown.”

Griffin fears a real explosion could easily happen any day.

She says on most days, tankers speed past her home above the 45 mph speed limit.

Her home sits behind a high voltage power transmission tower.

“My concern is now that I know its ethanol, one of these tankers is going to hit the curve then hit that power transmitter,” Griffin said.

“It’s going to be a huge explosion,” said Lori Mancuso who lives with Griffin. “It’s going to level houses. It’s a horrible thought.”

It’s a concern Sgt. Robert Abernathy with North Carolina Highway Patrol hears almost daily.

“We’re all frustrated equally,” Abernathy said. “Overwhelmingly the complaints have been coming in for the past two months.”

He says extra troopers have been patrolling the road, but haven’t issued any citations in the past six months.

Even so, Davidson County officials are working on a plan to ease concerns says Abernathy.

“Relocate them to a different route, so it’s not as prevalent on Beck’s Church Road.”

A plan people like Donnell want put into action before it’s too late “8,000 gallons of ethanol are going to go up, boom,” Griffin said. “They’re not going to be able to stop that fire.”