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18-wheeler accident in Texas causes explosion, kills driver

A deadly 18-wheeler accident occurred in Fort Worth last night, closing Texas Interstate 30. The accident happened when a wrong-way driver collided with the 18-wheeler carrying gasoline and caused a large explosion, killing the 18-wheeler's driver.

The accident occurred around 2:30 a.m. in the westbound lanes of Interstate 30 near Beach Street. According to Fox 4 Dallas-Fort Worth, witnesses told police that they had seen someone in a red pickup truck driving the wrong way on the freeway before the accident. Police are unsure how long the pickup had been on the highway driving the wrong way.

It is also unknown how much fuel the tanker was carrying at the time of the accident, but the tanker exploded and burned for hours, police said.

Unfortunately, the driver of the 18-wheeler died at the scene. The driver of the pickup was taken to a local hospital for treatment. The severity of his injuries has not been reported.

Because the explosion occurred at the top of a bridge over a creek, the fire department tested the creek for hazardous materials. The creek was somewhat dry, so there was very little contamination detected. Firefighters also noted that most of the fuel was burned off in the fire.

Concern for the bridge also arose. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, the extreme heat from the fire caused damage to the steel support beams under the bridge, but the remainder of the bridge appears fine.

The Department of Transportation said that the westbound lanes of the bridge will remain closed for most of today while new concrete barriers are installed and new lane dividers can be painted. The remaining repairs on the bridge are expected to take months.

At this point neither of the names of the drivers has been reported. An investigation will also take place to see if alcohol played a role in the accident, Fox 4 reported.

Resource: Fox 4 Dallas-Ft. Worth, "Wrong-Way Crash Ends in Deadly Explosion," Alice Wolke, 3/28/2011.

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