A key Indianapolis expressway has been rendered structurally unsafe for travel after a tanker exploded and caught fire on a ramp, causing damage that may not be fixed for weeks.
Interstates 69 and 465 on the north-east side of the city were closed after the explosion, with I-69 reopening after two hours. However, I-465 remains closed for repairs after a pillar holding up the east side was knocked over and two steel girders on the west were damaged.
Police Sergeant Anthony Emery said: “We’re not talking hours, we’re talking weeks,” for repairs.
“We’re not talking hours, we’re talking weeks [for repairs].”
Anthony Emery, Police Sergeant
Lonnie Hood, who was working near the highway said: “We saw a big massive fireball like you wouldn’t believe. It was a massive explosion. It just roared in my chest. It was unreal.”
He said he and another man helped pull the driver out of the burning tanker. “Me and another guy pulled him out of there and just dragged him down the road here and his whole truck blew up.”
The driver was taken to hospital, but his injuries were not thought to be life threatening. The driver of the vehicle behind the truck was being treated for severe burns.
Other drivers at the scene reversed their cars to escape the flames, while some got out and ran.
Fire Marshal Dick Groves said the explosion happened when the truck rolled, causing the cab and tanker to separate and catch fire.
He said the heat from the fire could be felt two miles away. “The flames were licking the bridge all around it,” he said.