An overpass was set aflame after a semi hauling thousands of gallons of fuel overturned in Indianapolis on Wednesday.
The tanker hit a guardrail on ramp from the I-465 to the I-70, which split the tank and overturned the semi, according to the Indianapolis Fire Department.
Witnesses told the department the driver of the truck exited the tanker on his own, though his clothes were on fire. The driver, identified as 59-year-old Jeffrey Denman, is in critical condition at a local hospital.
At least two witnesses, identified as Holly McNally and Mitch Navarre, stopped to help the driver get away from the tanker’s fiery wreckage.
The semi was carrying 4,000 gallons of jet fuel when it overturned, triggering two explosions that caused a much larger fire, the department said.
“Holly told firefighters that the jet fuel was literally pouring down the embankment as they retreated,” the department’s press release said.
Investigators believe unsafe speed contributed to the truck’s rollover.
The Indianapolis Fire Department first arrived on scene just before 2 p.m. local time and deployed a total of 20 units to the scene, including three tankers and a hazmat team. It took about 40 minutes to extinguish the flames as firefighters had to rely on tankers to supply water due to a lack of accessible hydrants.
Brian Harvey, an engineer with DOT, said in a Twitter video that the debris will have to be cleared before authorities can determine whether the overpass is safe for traffic.
“Everything you’re looking at here has to be moved, and then they have to bring a sweeper vehicle to sweep up all the loose material. And then we will have to make an evaluation at that time how extensive the deck’s damaged and how much further work needs done before we can open it.”
This is a breaking story, please check back for updates.