UPDATE: One Dead, Four Injured in Tanker Truck Head-On Collision
UPDATE 1: Sept. 4: 11 a.m.
Route 19 in the area of Honomu is now open to all traffic.
UPDATE: Sept. 4, 10 a.m.
The fire on the propane tanker was extinguished at approximately 5:30 a.m., Monday, Sept. 4, 2017, according to Hawai‘i Gas Communications Consultant Alan Tang.
Hawaii Gas and fire officials at the scene on Saturday night had decided it was safer to let the propane burn off the remaining contents of the tanker, said Tang.
Police have finished their investigation at the scene. The tanker is being removed and the highway will be reopened shortly.
On Saturday, Sept 2, a Hawaii Gas propane tanker was struck by an SUV on Highway 19 near Honomu on the Hamakua coast. The impact flipped the tanker and caused the propane leak and fire.
The propane truck driver was taken to the Hilo Medical Center where he is hospitalized. Two of the three occupants in the SUV were treated at the scene but authorities confirmed that one of the passengers had died, said Tang.
“Hawaii Gas is partnering closely with the police and fire departments to complete their investigation as well as conducting an investigation of our own,” said Tang.
“We are saddened by the loss of life and our hearts go out to those affected by this tragic accident,” said Tang.
The Hawai‘i Police Department is conducting a traffic fatality investigation.
ORIGINAL POST: Sept. 4, 2017, 7:50 a.m.
Four people were injured and one person was pronounced dead at the scene when a passenger vehicle collided head-on with a Gas Company tanker vehicle on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017, on Highway 19 near mile marker 13, just north of Honomu Road.
Firefighters arrived at the scene of the accident at 2:09 p.m. to find the tanker upside down, with its cab on fire.
The driver was able to escape from the vehicle.
The passenger vehicle was severely damaged.
Approximately 1,750 gallons of liquid propane on board the tanker truck caught fire.
The fire was brought under at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 3., but due to the large volume of liquid propane, the fire continued to burn as of 11 p.m.—over 32 hours.
The Hawai‘i County Fire Department and HazMat units are still on the scene.
A woman in her 30s was pronounced dead at the scene.
Three other passengers and the Gas Company truck driver were transported to Hilo Medical Center in various conditions.
Drivers are asked to avoid Route 19 between Honomu and the Route 19 intersection and the Honomu transfer station road. Hilo-bound traffic is now rerouted via Old Mamalahoa Highway. Hamakua bound traffic (beyond Honomu) is being turned around to use Saddle Road. This closure is anticipated to be in effect for an extended period.
More traffic updates will be published as they become available.