No one was seriously injured in a hazardous materials incident at the Heartland Truck Stop and Wash on Thursday.

One man was taken to the hospital after he was rescued from inside a semi-tanker he was cleaning at the facility at 3047 W. CR 300 S.

The incident began about 2:30 p.m.

Cass County Director of Emergency Management Alvin Beckman said a trucker brought the vehicle in for cleaning, and the person inside the tank was overcome by fumes.

No one else was in danger, but firefighters wore ventilation masks during the rescue, Beckman said.

The tanker hauls pork by-products, and although it was empty, they weren’t sure what the residue was giving off as it decomposed in the heat.

“So we’re going into an unknown — kind of changes your response,” Beckman said.

The man in the tanker was coherent enough to help get himself out, Beckman added.

During the incident, Cass County Sheriff’s deputies blocked off the entrance to Heartland and directed people to wait at the lot to the east of Heartland.

Emergency rescue crews called in a Lutheran Hospital helicopter that arrived at 3:15 p.m., but it wasn’t needed.

Once emergency crews got the man out and decontaminated him, paramedics from the helicopter ground crews checked him out.

“He seemed to be doing pretty good,” Beckman said.

Fire trucks began leaving the scene at 3:28, and the helicopter left the scene about 3:29 p.m.

The man was taken to Indiana University Arnett Hospital in Lafayette, which is where the family requested he be taken, Backman said.

Darryl Schick, the driver of the truck, said he brought it in for a wash after carrying ground up pork meat, which emits gas as it decomposes.

In his 15 years of trucking, this is the first time he’s seen this happen.

“I wasn’t looking forward to this kind of excitement,” Schick said.

The wash facility supervisor declined to talk about the incident.

Reach James D. Wolf Jr. at or 574-732-5117

Twitter @JamesDWolfJr

React to this story:


Recommended for you