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Semi hauling diesel fuel catches fire on I-49 after three-vehicle injury crash

Posted at 4:40 PM, Sep 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-27 23:42:37-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A semi tractor-trailer hauling thousands of gallons of gasoline caught fire Friday afternoon on Interstate 49 after a crash.

The truck was traveling southbound on I-49 just north of Blue Ridge Boulevard around 3:45 p.m. after a portion of the trailer caught fire after a wreck that involved two passenger cars, according to Kansas City, Missouri, Deputy Fire Chief/Fire Marshal Jimmy Walker.

The KCPD Accident Investigation Unit also responded to the scene and determined that Ford Focus was driving erratically and struck the right rear of the fuel tanker, which was hauling a full load of diesel.

The Focus also struck a white Jeep, which then crashed into the right side of the tanker truck.

The multi-vehicle crash caused the fuel tanker to burst into flames and burn for nearly an hour.

The southbound lanes were immediately closed. As the fire grew, officials closed the northbound lanes as well at Blue Ridge Boulevard.

By the time KCFD crews arrived, there was heavy smoke coming from the truck.

After an initial attack, crews backed off temporarily before resuming with as many as three streams of water to knock the fire down. The department also switched to foam after the flames died down a bit.

The fire damaged several lanes of traffic as well as overhead signs near the blaze, Walker said.

One lane of southbound I-49 reopened around 7 p.m., but the northbound lanes remained closed due to the badly damaged asphalt and to allow a Missouri Department of Transportation crew to remove the damaged highway sign.

MoDOT, which took control of the scene as remaining fuel was offloaded from the fuel tanker, estimated that I-49 would reopen around 1 a.m. on Saturday morning, KCPD said in a release.

Hazmat crews put dykes in place to contain the gasoline runoff and prevent it from spilling into storm drains. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources was sending a crew to assess possible damage.

Quality Transportation, which operated the truck, also was sending a cleanup crew.

The Missouri Department of Transportation said around 4:30 p.m. that the interstate may remain closed for several hours, and the incident had a major impact on afternoon commutes throughout south Kansas City.

KCFD, which put the fire under control with help from the Grandview Fire Department shortly before 5 p.m., said one person from one of the passenger vehicles was transported to the hospital as a result of the crash.

Walker said the injuries were not thought to be life-threatening.

KCPD said the injured party was the driver of the Focus.