A fuel tanker overturned and crashed on a Maryland highway Saturday, killing the driver and setting nearby cars and homes ablaze, authorities said.
The truck, carrying about 8,650 gallons of fuel, flipped and hit a tree before exploding on U.S. 15 in Frederick, about an hour west of Baltimore, NBC News reported. Massive flames shot into the sky and a huge plume of black smoke blanketed the area.
Three homes separated from the main road by a small strip of trees caught fire, including one that suffered extensive damage, Frederick Fire Chief Tom Coe said. A family of eight lives in the home.
Three cars also caught fire, but there were no other injuries.. The noon incident also caused a small brush fire.
It took about 40 minutes to put out the flames in all of the fires, the Frederick News-Post reported.
“This was a very logistically taxing incident, with lots of priorities that the first responders had to mitigate simultaneously,” Coe said. “It was very complex.”
It was unclear what company the tanker belonged to or what type of fuel it was carrying. Some of the fuel leaked across the ground and into storm drains, but no water was contaminated, authorities said.
“This is a scary day,” Frederick Mayor Michael O’Connor said. “I’m thankful for the quick coordination and the courage of our first responders, who kept so many people in our community safe today.”
O’Connor and Coe said that officials will continue to monitor any environmental impact caused by the crash and that cleaning the fuel spill will take “some time.”
Maryland Governor Wes More said in a statement that he is in communication with O’Connor, the city, and County Executive Jessica Fitzwater regarding the incident.
“We are continuing to minitor the situation closely.” Moore said.
Authorities did not yet release the name of the driver.