Schriever Fire Chief Ken Pitre remembers when a truckload of about 1,500 butane bottles caught fire, causing U.S. 90 to shut down. "We watched the fireworks," he said. "All these bottles started exploding. It really caught me off guard in a way. It was in the middle of the night, and I remember coming out the door and all I heard was 'boom.'"
When he arrived on scene, he heard the driver was running toward the overpass.
"We were always told, 'If the driver's running, follow the driver 'cause he knows what he has,'" Pitre said. "We followed the driver back and just sat down there. ... You would watch bottles go up 50, 100 feet in the air, just flying. All we did was haul water and drop it into St. John's big tank truck. You couldn't take the chance of getting hit by shrapnel."