MOUNT CARMEL — A Mount Carmel firefighter escaped injury Tuesday when the tanker he was driving rolled down a steep embankment on Big Elm Road in the unincorporated area of Hawkins County north of Allandale.
Around 2:17 p.m., the Mount Carmel Fire Department was responding to assist at a vehicular accident on Big Elm Road when the northbound tanker reportedly met an oncoming vehicle near the Tranbarger Road intersection.
The firefighter, who was the lone occupant of the tanker, stated that he moved over as far as he could on the narrow roadway to let the oncoming vehicle pass when the asphalt at the edge broke.
Just past the edge of the asphalt is a steep embankment.
The firefighter stated he didn’t go over the side immediately.
However, the 1,000 to 1,250 gallons of water sloshing in the tanker apparently shifted enough weight to send the vehicle rolling about 50 feet down the embankment.
The driver, whose name wasn’t immediately released, was able to climb from the tanker and get back up the hill uninjured. He told police and rescuers that was his first accident in 29 years.
The wreck occurred near the North Fork of the Holston River. Police said there was fortunately no oil or fuel leaks from the wreckage.
They were, however, going to have to drain the water before bringing the tanker back up to the road.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol was dispatched to the scene as the investigating agency.