We’ve received a number of questions regarding the incident in Ohio and we want to provide additional information specifically on our actions immediately after learning about the incident.
Upon being informed of the incident, our number one priority was to make contact with our driver and confirm he was safe. He sustained minor injuries due to the crash, and understood that the driver of the other vehicle also only sustained minor crash related injuries. We dispatched staff based in our Ohio facility to support our driver and provide immediate assistance to police and fire. Our General Manager from our North Carolina HQ caught the next flight to Ohio to coordinate the longer term effort on the ground, and continues to assist there.
Within the first 12 hours, we contacted the national response center, the cylinder manufacturer, and the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration to understand and seek guidance on all reporting requirements. Our on-site team coordinated with the local Orange Township Fire department, Ohio State Highway Patrol, and the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.
By the next morning, we had engaged a 3rd party engineering firm to investigate the incident utilizing a road/traffic crash reconstruction and fire analysis. Within the next 48 hours both the engineering firm and PHMSA had arrived on site to collect data.
At present, we are now engaged with the Federal Motor Carrier System Administration for a safety review, and are awaiting the results from the various investigations.
Out of an abundance of caution, and our long history with safety using hydrogen, the truck and trailer combination was built to meet and exceed industry standards for over-the-road hydrogen transport. All equipment and their safety devices were present, active, and recently tested per our maintenance plan.
We want to confirm that none of the injuries or damage caused to property was a result of any hydrogen exploding, and want to stress that our trailer did not explode. Despite this, we are endeavoring to understand the incident in full, and ensure any learning and improvements in our operating procedures are embedded in our organization and shared with the broader hydrogen fuel community.
On Monday, February 6th, 2023, a OneH2 truck and hydrogen fuel trailer was involved in a collision at an intersection outside Columbus, Ohio. Upon hearing this news, the Company’s concern was for those involved in the incident. We are thankful to have been advised that no one was seriously injured.
As reported by witnesses, the collision appears to have been caused by the failure of other vehicles to observe a red light, with our truck and trailer swerving into a traffic light pole and catching fire as a consequence.
Industry standard design procedures employed in the manufacture of the fuel trailer resulted in the escape of Hydrogen gas through pressure relief valves as a result of heat from the fire. The opening of the valves is sometimes mistaken for the sound of an explosion, however is part of the intrinsic safety of the trailer design and is expected behavior allowing the fuel to escape vertically out of harm’s way. It is not believed that any explosions occurred during the incident. Hydrogen fuel is also non-toxic and when released to the atmosphere is environmentally friendly.
OneH2 regrets the inconvenience to commuters and is thankful to the local community and first responders for their fast action and support for our driver and those involved in the accident.