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Semi-truck bursts into flames on I-95 in Norwalk, Connecticut

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A tanker truck filled to the brim with gasoline crashed into a tractor-trailer on Interstate 95 in Connecticut Thursday morning and exploded in a blazing fireball – melting an overpass that is now slated for demolition.

The fire, which crippled both sides of the highway, a major east coast artery connecting New York and New England, broke out around 5:30 a.m. and burned for nearly three hours before it was brought under control.

The portion of Main Street affected by the fire will remain closed at least until Monday, Gov. Ned Lamont said.

The raging fire seen from the highway in Connecticut. Matthew McDermott
Local hazmat teams and other agencies reportedly flocked to the site to clean up the hazardous material. WFSBnews

The tanker, which was carrying about 8,500 gallons of gasoline, struck the truck and a passenger vehicle near Exit 15 near the Fairfield Avenue overpass, which will be demolished at 3 a.m. Friday. The road also needs to be renewed.

“The heat from the burning fuel has damaged part of the bridge, requiring the bridge to be demolished and demolition will begin first thing tomorrow morning,” Lamont said later Thursday.

Garrett Eucalitto, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Transportation, added: “The damage was quite severe as the amount of gasoline in the tanker ignited directly under the bridge structure. “The steel began to overheat and warp.”

Scott Hill, chief engineer for the Connecticut Department of Transportation, said the overpass does not appear to be in danger of collapsing.

Aerial photos show the remains of the tanker crash and fire on I-95 in Norwalk, CT. WFSBnews

Lamont said no one was seriously injured and urged drivers to stay away from the area as there was “terrible” traffic backed up for dozens of miles during the morning rush. Side streets were also clogged – including the Merritt Parkway, which is inaccessible to trucks because the underpasses are too low.

Traffic delays were expected until the weekend.

Environmental crews worked to clean up gasoline and firefighting foam, and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said the runoff was contained in a retention pond and did not seep into the Norwalk River.

A semi-truck loaded with thousands of gallons of gasoline exploded in a fiery inferno on I-95 in Connecticut Thursday morning. Matthew McDermott
Gov. Ned Lamont said no one was seriously injured. Matthew McDermott

About 4,000 gallons of unburned gas were discharged from the tanker. Utility crews also worked to replace broken lines.

Norwalk Public Schools said will be closed on Friday “due to ongoing traffic issues and delays,” although the district said sports games, theater performances and balls will still take place.

With post wires

Officials urged motorists to seek alternative routes. Matthew McDermott

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