Massachusetts’ Route 1 was a dangerous place to be this weekend as a gas tanker crashed and erupted into flames, killing the driver and injury six other people. The accident occurred in Saugus, Massachusetts, and caused a domino effect of collisions behind it.
Police said that the fire was so ravenous that it burnt the gas tanker down to its axles and released a fireball 50 feet into the air. Houses in the area shook from the explosion and several other buildings and cars were burned in its wake.
The ignited fuel that escaped from the truck came within 100 yards of a gas station, police said, which could have caused an even more devastating blow. About 120 residents of Saugus were temporarily evacuated from their homes as fires crews worked to get the flames under control.
The fuel was abundant as the truck driver had just filled his 11,000-gallon cargo tank before he swerved into the guardrail at about 2:10 a.m. on Saturday. After hitting the guardrail, the truck rolled, which caused the gas tank to rupture and fuel to begin pouring out, police and fire officials said.
About 70 firefighters from several departments reported to the scene. It took about an hour to extinguish the flames engulfing the tanker, and about three hours to extinguish the rest of the flames that had spread.
In addition to the 59-year-old truck driver who was killed in the accident, two people who were in the area and two firefighters were also injured.
The Department of Environmental Protection was called in to investigate the fuel spill. A thorough investigation into how the accident occurred will likely be conducted as well. The tanker truck is owned by PJ Murphy Transportation Inc. of Methuen, Massachusetts.
Depending on the outcome of the investigation, there are several possible personal injury lawsuits that could arise from this accident. For example, those injured in the accident could possibly have a personal injury claim against the trucking company if the driver or the company acted negligently in any way.
Source: Boston Herald, “Tanker crash fuels mayhem on Route 1,” John Zaremba And Marie Szaniszlo, 7/24/2011.