Overturned tanker truck causes large fire on I-10, driver believed dead

(image: Mobile Fire-Rescue) Overturned tanker truck causes giant fire I-10 at Virginia St.

The driver of an oil tanker is believed to be dead after it overturned and went up in flames.

It happened Monday around 11:15 a.m. on the Virginia Street off ramp on Interstate 10.

Mobile Police are still trying to figure out what caused the single-vehicle accident.

Thick, black smoke could be seen miles away filling the sky.

Close up, multiple engines and firefighters battled flames with foam and water. The driver was believed to still be inside.

"I got up after the fourth explosion," Lester Lett said.

Lett says he was on his porch when he heard a loud noise.

"I heard like 7 explosions and I thought they were dropping bombs," he said.

He says he jumped up and called for help.

"I saw a big cloud of smoke and I was hoping it wasn't a chemical trail from hazardous material, so I ran in the street and called 911," Lett said.

Unsure what the tanker was carrying, Mobile Fire-Rescue initially called out four engines and a hazmat crew.

"We attacked it from a distance and once we did confirm that it was carrying oil we moved in a little closer and started attacking it with blankets of foam," MFD spokesperson Steven Millhouse said.

While fighting the fire, officials say the big concern was for people close by and drivers

"Wind conditions was pushing that smoke into different areas," Millhouse said.

Firefighters managed to contain the flames. Investigators are still working to figure out what happened.

Mobile Police say the tanker is completely burned and they believe the driver didn't make it out.

Investigators are also working to identify the company that owns the tanker.


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