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Portion of I-95 to Remain Closed for Days After Tractor-Trailer Carrying Thousands of Gallons of Gasoline Explodes

A tanker truck filled to the brim with gasoline slammed into a tractor-trailer and burst into a blazing fireball Thursday morning on Interstate 95 in Connecticut — melting an overpass that will now be demolished.

The blaze — which shut down both sides of the highway, a major East Coast artery that links New York and New England — erupted at about 5:30 a.m. and burned for nearly three hours before it was brought under control.

The portion of the major highway affected by the fire will remain closed through at least Monday, Gov. Ned Lamont said.

The tanker, which was carrying about 8,500 gallons of gas, hit the truck and a passenger vehicle near Exit 15 near the Fairfield Avenue overpass — which will be demolished beginning 3 a.m. Friday. The road will also need to be repaved.

“The heat from the burning fuel compromised some of the bridge, so that bridge is going to have to come down and that demolition is going to start first thing tomorrow morning,” Lamont said later Thursday.

Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner Garrett Eucalitto added, “The damage was pretty severe due to the amount of gasoline that was in the tanker ignited directly underneath the bridge structure. The steel did begin to overheat and warp.”

Scott Hill, chief engineer for the Connecticut Department of Transportation, said the overpass didn’t appear to be in danger of collapsing.

Lamont said no one was seriously hurt and urged drivers to stay away from the area, noting “horrendous” traffic which was backed up for dozens of miles during the morning rush. Secondary roads were also jammed — including the Merritt Parkway, which is inaccessible to trucks because its underpasses are too low.

Traffic delays were expected through the weekend.

Environmental crews worked to clean up gasoline and firefighting foam and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said the runoff was contained to a retention pond and did not seep into the Norwalk River.

About 4,000 gallons of unburnt gas was offloaded from the tanker.

Utility crews were also working to replace downed wires.

Norwalk Public Schools said it will close Friday “due to ongoing traffic concerns and delays,” though the district said athletic games, drama performances and proms will still take place.

READ 9 COMMENTS
  • Yowzer says:

    But , but , the pipelines are so dangerous ! Also , OMG ! Gasoline fire melted the steel in the overpass ! NO WAY jet fuel melted the Twin Towers……(sarcasm)

  • TD says:

    The overpass which will be demolished beginning 3 a.m. Friday. The road will also need to be repaved, But not anything about the people that were in the accident, This and all the cleanup is obvious

    • Debbie L says:

      You had to keep reading as that was my biggest concern since I have a CDL driver in my family: “Lamont said no one was seriously hurt and urged drivers to stay away from the area, noting “horrendous” traffic which was backed up for dozens of miles during the morning rush. Secondary roads were also jammed — including the Merritt Parkway, which is inaccessible to trucks because its underpasses are too low.”

    • peggy says:

      TD. Article said no one was hurt

  • Rudog says:

    yeh…. don’ look like an rpg blast did this one… won’t rule out.totally….(don’ wanna give godless kommunistas/raghead isis ideas) 😉

  • John sweet says:

    Which highway crossed the bridge that went down after the Chinese shipping line’s accident took out the bridge? Kind of starting to adding limitations on available routes!

  • Mari says:

    How could the truck drivers not be killed? No fatalities mentioned. Weird.

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