Massive tanker fire shuts down parts of freeway

HOUSTON - A massive tanker fire in east Harris County caused major delays in the area.

Investigators said a gasoline tanker overturned and exploded just before 8 p.m. Friday on the feeder road of the East Sam Houston Parkway near Highway 90.

The explosion caused a massive amount of flames and smoke to cover the area, officials said.

Emergency crews shut down the southbound feeder road while they worked to put out the blaze.

A witness told KPRC Local 2 he saw the driver attempt to make a U-turn but the tanker truck tipped over.

"As soon as it rolled over and hit the ground it exploded and went into flames," said Orlando Amador.

Amador said the flames were shooting 30 feet into the air and he could feel the intense heat from 60 to 70 feet away. He called 911 and reported the accident moments after it happened.

Fire crews called the situation "dangerous," but they said they were able to get it under control quickly.

After the main fire was out, firefighters worked on hot spots and cleaned up the mess that was left behind.

"We've got some fuel on the ground," said Lt. Dean Hensley with the Harris County Fire Marshal's Office. "We're working to contain the runoff and also make sure there isn't any fire in the sewer system."

Hensley said the driver was able to make it out of the truck safely and he was taken by ambulance to the hospital where he's being treated for minor burns.

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