Tanker Truck Fire

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by JASON WHITELY

Bio | Email | Follow: @jasonwhitely

WFAA

Posted on August 23, 2011 at 11:29 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 15 at 5:17 PM

Tanker fire

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ROANOKE — Highway 114 was still shut down in Roanoke late Tuesday night following a fiery accident involving a tanker truck loaded with jet fuel and a Jeep.

The fire finally burned itself out Tuesday night after nearly five hours. Smoke from the wreck could be seen for miles around, and the accident tied up rush hour traffic.

Remarkably, no one was seriously hurt.

"You would think with that much heat and flame that it'd burn out fast, but it's still burning," said Joe Scarborough, who had a front row seat to the inferno from a Waffle House across the street.

"It's so hot and so intense, I could almost feel the heat inside here," he said.

Scarborough walked into the restaurant soon after Roanoke firefighters raced to the scene.

"They could see the smoke all the way up in Denton and North Richland Hills," Scarborough said.

Just after 3:30 p.m., the tanker and a Jeep collided. The front end of the Jeep was demolished, but the tanker erupted in flames as 5,600 gallons of volatile jet fuel detonated.

Waffle House employee Jennie Jeffery ran to the window when someone yelled what happened. "Well, she said there was a truck on fire. I was expecting a little bitty truck out here with the radiator on fire," she said with a laugh.

The accident happened on Highway 114 at Highway 377, just east of the Texas Motor Speedway. Remarkably, both drivers walked away, but paramedics did take a passenger in the Jeep to a hospital with a non-life threatening injury.

Roanoke firefighters took air quality measurement devices to an adjoining neighborhood to determine if all the smoke would necessitate an evacuation. The wind, however, blew the plume in a different direction.

The tanker belonged to a Montana company. The driver did not wish to speak to News 8, and police did not immediately pinpoint who was at fault.

"It's pretty remarkable that all this happened and no one got hurt," Jeffery said, adding that in her 40 year career at Waffle House, this was a first.

The Texas Department of Transportation was planning to inspect the main lanes of Highway 114 early Wednesday morning before it is reopened to traffic.

At 10 p.m. Tuesday, wreckers were still waiting for the incinerated tanker to cool off before they could haul what's left of it away.

E-mail jwhitely@wfaa.com

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