The driver of a tanker truck that burst into flames outside Denver was recovering Wednesday after he jumped out of the burning vehicle and tumbled onto a highway as traffic whizzed by.
Video obtained by Denver news station KDVR-TV showed the man, who was driving in Greenwood Village, Colorado having trouble standing and another person running toward him and helping him away from the burning vehicle. Another witness told KMGH-TV that the driver’s leg was on fire.
The fire quickly engulfed the truck and sent a large plume of black smoke billowing into the sky. Firefighters sprayed foam on it and across both sides of Interstate 25 about 12 miles – 19 kilometers – south of downtown.
The accident resulted in large fuel fire on northbound Interstate 25 between Orchard Road and Bellevue Ave – pictured – on Wednesday. Both directions of I-25 were shut down while fire fighters battled the blaze
The tanker smoldered along the retaining wall separating northbound from southbound lanes on Interstate 25
Investigators say the truck lost a tire and crashed into the concrete barrier in the median – but it’s not clear if that ignited the fire. The driver’s condition was not released.
The tanker smoldered along the retaining wall, separating northbound from southbound lanes on Interstate 25.
The highway was also closed along with a nearby light rail station, forcing motorists to seek other routes through Denver’s busy southeast corridor.
The highway was closed along with a nearby light rail station as firefighters worked desperately to quell the fire
Motorists were forced to seek other routes through Denver’s busy southeast corridor
Shailen Bhatt, executive director of the Colorado Department of Transportation, said workers will experience ‘a pretty snarled p.m. commute’ Wednesday.
All northbound lanes near the Denver Tech Center, a group of corporate buildings that line the interstate, were expected to stay closed through the evening.
Crews – who worked throughout Wednesday night – have opened some southbound lanes, and Bhatt said he was ‘cautiously optimistic’ that all lanes of the interstate will be open by Thursday morning’s commute.
‘Crews have begun milling the northbound lanes to evaluate the maximum depth of damage to the asphalt.
‘At this time, there is not an estimated time of reopening of the northbound lanes,’ a statement from CDOT said on Wednesday night.
Highway workers look over a retaining wall as the remains of a tanker smolders along the barrier separating northbound from southbound lanes on Interstate 25
A traffic investigator jumps over a wall at the scene on Interstate 25. Construction crews worked all through Wednesday night to fix the damage
Most motorists drove on to Holly Street just west of the freeway, which created a massive traffic jam Wednesday