ROANOKE (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – Crews worked through the night to clean up debris from a massive tanker truck fire along State Highway 114 in Roanoke. The incident happened after a collision between the truck and a Jeep on Tuesday afternoon, in the eastbound lanes near Litsey Road.
The crash and resulting smoke and fire brought area traffic to a standstill during Tuesday evening’s rush hour, as the fire burned for almost five hours. State Highway 114 was first closed in both directions, but the westbound lanes were opened on Tuesday evening.
The entire highway has since been reopened, now that debris has been cleared and road conditions have been deemed safe for travel.
The thick, black smoke was visible across many parts of North Texas, as it billowed high into the sky. The tanker truck, owned by a Belgrade, Montana helicopter company named Central Copter, was carrying 5,600 gallons of jet fuel at the time of the crash. It slammed into the Jeep at an intersection. And although the tanker truck did catch on fire, it did not explode.
Witnesses said that the Jeep appeared to puncture a hole in the tanker truck. “The truck, the tanker, kept rolling down 114,” said eyewitness Jamaal Malik. “And it was already in flames, like instantly, I guess after the collision.”
After extinguishing a grass fire that was caused by the burning truck, emergency officials decided that the safest way to get rid of the fuel in the tanker truck was to let it burn off. During this time, fire crews monitored the flames and the air quality in the area. Winds did a good job at dispersing the smoke.
According to Lt. Douglas Parks with the Roanoke Fire Department, the driver of the Jeep was transported to a local hospital and is expected to be okay. The truck driver was able to walk away from the fiery wreck unharmed.