Traffic was shut down for a period of time near Long Beach, California over the weekend when a tanker holding about 8,000 gallons of crude oil crashed and exploded. The driver was injured and reported to be in critical conditions from his burns.
The crash impacted many different people, including three workers from a nearby rail yard who intervened to help free the driver of the truck. There was also another vehicle involved in the crash although police did not release specific information on that issue, except to say that one other person aside from the truck driver was hospitalized with non-critical injuries.
Luckily none of the nearby homes or other buildings caught on fire during the ordeal, although bystanders reported frightening flames that were spreading. A few cars that came into close contact with the truck did burn. One man who lives in the neighborhood near the crash said that the oil looked like hot lava pouring down from the highway overpass and said that he was concerned about a nearby lumber yard catching fire.
At this point police have said that it is too soon to determine the cause of the truck accident and whether it was something involving a malfunction from the truck, an error by the driver, or if the other car caused the accident. When an accident like this occurs, it is essential that local authorities do a complete investigation to determine the causes. Often accident victims and their employer (if they were on the job at the time) will also undertake a review of the evidence to determine what went wrong and who may have been at fault.
Source: NBC Los Angeles, “Oil Tanker Crash: “Everything It Touched Was on Fire,” Jonathan Lloyd and Toni Guinyard, Oct. 28, 2013.