NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – New Orleans Police and Fire Investigators are looking into a tanker explosion that forced east and westbound lanes of I-10 to be shut down Tuesday in New Orleans.
WGNO News Reporter Darian Trotter has the latest on the case.
Plumes of black smoke in New Orleans East drew crowds of curious spectators.
Everyone was genuinely concerned about the female driving a tanker, who somehow got into trouble.
“Right now I’m thinking how did she flip over and what happened,” neighbor Terry Smith said.
It was around 4:30pm when fire crews and hazmat teams rushed to I-10, just past I-510 in the Little Woods Area.
That’s where the 18-wheeler hauling fuel overturned and burst into flames.
“It was a big boom. It sounded like a big explosion, like something just happened.”
New Orleans Fire Superintendent Tim McConnell added, “It had ruptured its tank. It’s a 10-thousand gallon tank, was carrying 86 gallons of fuel which had spilled onto the roadway and was involved in fire.”
Flames covered the east bound lanes, and then traveled to westbound lanes.
The 24-year old female driver managed to crawl out just in time.
“Oh she’s lucky. Anytime you have that big of a truck that turns over on a fast moving interstate you have the potential to receive serious injuries. So, she’s really really lucky,” EMS Deputy Chief Ken Bouvier said.
Given the volume of fuel and the flames, crews had to work fast to bring this dangerous situation under control.
“It’s obviously always a dangerous situation anytime you have a chemical fire like that, but in this case we were lucky it was a flat road bed as opposed to being an incline where the fuel could continue to flow,” McConnell said.
Fire crews used foam to smoother the flames.
“They did everything they were supposed to do and they put it out pretty fast,” neighbor Anthony Hardy said.
Once the fire was out, cleanup crews began removing the remaining hazardous material and the wreckage.
“I’m hoping that the lady’s alright,” Smith said. “And I hope the interstate gets clean and running all over again.”
The driver was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
The cause of the accident is under investigation.