Tanker Truck Explodes Into Inferno on California Freeway

A tanker truck hauling 8,000 gallons of ethanol crashed on a highway, exploding into an inferno that sent a river of flame into storm drains, officials said. The driver was killed.

The truck crashed around 6 p.m. Saturday when it hit the side rail of eastbound State Route 91 at the transition to Interstate 710, the Long Beach Fire Department said in a statement.

The driver's name was not immediately released.

Witnesses said the heat was so intense it melted guardrails and all that remained of the truck were its axles and small portions of the cab.

A stream of fire flowed from the tanker into a storm drain, causing plumes of flame to spew 20 feet in the air from other storm drains.

The large quantity of ethanol in the truck fueled a huge fireball that enveloped the overpasses, Long Beach Fire Department Capt. Jackawa Jackson said. Firefighters snuffed the flames with foam, he said.

Officials worried the fire may have weakened the elevated stretch of road, the fire department said.

The cause of the crash was under investigation and the roadway remained closed while inspectors examined it.