A tanker truck fire shut down Interstate-35W in Alvarado early on April 27, 2012. (credit: KTVT/KTXA)

ALVARADO (CBSDFW.COM) – A jackknifed tanker truck caught on fire along Interstate-35W in Alvarado early Friday morning, shutting down the highway in both directions shortly before the morning rush hour. The incident happened around 4:30 a.m. near County Road 604, not far from the intersection with Highway 67.

According to officials on the scene, the tanker truck and another 18-wheeler were traveling along the interstate when the tanker truck hit a guardrail and was disabled. The other 18-wheeler then crashed into the tanker truck and there was a burst of flames. The tanker truck was hauling methanol, a gasoline additive that is highly flammable.

Emergency crews from Burleson, Cleburne and Johnson County arrived on the scene to battle the blaze. Initial reports from the Texas Department of Transportation indicated that crews will let the fire burn out before attempting to remove the wreckage.

The drivers of both trucks were injured and transported to Texas Health Harris Hospital in Fort Worth. Their injuries are not known, but both were reportedly able to walk away from the scene on their own.

Southbound traffic along the interstate — between Alvarado and Burleson — was diverted to the service road. Those lanes have since been opened, though backups are still expected. The northbound side of the highway, and the northbound service road, are still closed. Northbound travelers are being told to take Cummings Drive past the fiery scene. Officials are still not sure how long the delays will last. “It very well may be a couple of hours,” said Val Lopez with TxDOT. “Obviously, there’s going to be a tremendous backup during this time.”

Drivers who must travel near the area are urged to seek alternate routes. Check our traffic section to plan your trip before leaving the house.

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