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Fiery crash with tanker carrying gas closes main East Coast highway in both directions

The crash involving a passenger car and a tanker truck carrying 8,500 gallons of gasoline miraculously caused no serious injuries, authorities said.
Scene of a tanker fire on I-95 in Norwalk, Conn.
Posted at 5:48 PM, May 02, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-03 12:51:38-04

A fiery early morning crash on Thursday closed traffic in both directions on the East Coast's main north-south driving route as authorities had to close down a section of highway because of a crash involving a passenger vehicle and a tanker carrying 8,500 gallons of gasoline.

The crash happened at 5:30 a.m. Thursday with at least three vehicles involved. There were no serious injuries in the accidentaccording to Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont. The governor declared a state of emergency so that funds could be directed to fix significant amounts of damages caused in the crash. It was determined that an overpass on the highway would have to be demolished and the roads repaved, Gov. Lamont said.

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The Connecticut Department of Transportation said sections of I-95 traveling both northbound and southbound remained closed by Thursday afternoon, and CDOT expected I-95 in Norwalk to remain closed through the weekend as crews worked on demolition and repair.

As The Associated Press reported, text messages were sent to residents and trucking companies in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut urging them to find alternate routes while the repairs continued.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg said his federal agency would be working closely with Connecticut's DOT, and urged people traveling in the area to heed the advice of local authorities.

Gov. Lamont said at a press briefing on Thursday that it has been an "incredible inconvenience" and asked drivers to "stay away from that area as best you can." The governor called the traffic jams in the area "horrendous."

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During Thursday morning's rush hour, traffic was backed up for dozens of miles on the highway and the crash caused gridlock on surface streets as drivers attempted to enter or exit the major motorway.

The Associated Press reported that utility crews were working to replace downed wires and crews had to offload about 3,000 gallons of gasoline that still remained in the tanker after the crash and ensuing fire.

Officials said environmental crews were also dispatched to check for any gasoline that had spilled into the Norwalk River. The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said it would monitor the situation but said no gasoline appeared to have immediately contaminated the river, The Hour reported.