A tanker filled with up to 7,500 gallons of gasoline crashed on the 5 and 2 freeway interchange Saturday morning, closing down the freeways and sending dark, thick smoke into the air, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.
There is also concern of damage to an I-5 Freeway bridge due to the intense heat from the fire. The northbound 5 was closed at the 2 and that the 2 was closed southbound at the 5, according to the California Highway Patrol. The interchange was also affected, with the southbound 2 to the southbound 5 closed and the northbound 2 to the northbound 5 closed. These closures will be "long term," according to the CHP.
"Beause of the intense flames that burned for over an hour, L.A. firefighters summoned in Caltrans officials, including those with engineering experience, who will look at the bridge to determine if it’s safe to travel upon," said L.A. Fire spokesman Brian Humphrey.
Watch video of the fire burning along the L.A. River:
Video submitted by KPCC listener Anthea Cicchino Raymond.
The CHP warned that the nearby 110 and 101 freeways – which were open – were experiencing heavy delays due to the other freeway closures in the area. There was also a Dodgers game scheduled to start at 4:15 p.m.
Humphrey says that firefighters are still searching the areas for further fire hazards in storm drains and the L.A. River. It is coordinating with environmental officials from local, regional, state and Federal agencies to determine if there are any other potential issues.
The driver survived the fiery wreck, which occurred at about 10: 30 a.m. and no other injuries have been reported at this time, Humphrey said. Firefighters initially thought they were responding to a vegetation fire, but discovered that a tanker had apparently struck a guardrail and caught fire, according to Humphrey.
Fires were also reported in nearby vegetation, storm drains and the L.A. River as the gasoline spread out from the site of the crash. The Los Angeles Fire Department reports that most of the gasoline either burned off or went into storm drains.
Fire officials are working closely with environmental officials to minimize the harm to the environment, Humphrey said. While some went into the water, most burned off, according to Humphrey.
At one point, firefighting helicopters were dropping water onto the flames and drivers were heading the wrong way on the freeways to get out of the area, according to the CHP. There were also reports of fumes and explosions in storm drains. A Hazmat (Hazardous Materials) crew is also working in the area.
Nearly 200 firefighters spread out over nearly a mile to stop surrounding small fires, Humphrey said, including some explosive fires that displaced manhole covers.
Looks like the fire is out near the 2. pic.twitter.com/6pbCnOpS0m— Dave Coelho (@davecoelho) July 13, 2013
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This story has been updated.
Correction: An earlier version of this story said that somebody had died; early reports appear to have been incorrect.