Tanker cab fire cleared on I-75 in Detroit

Tom Greenwood and Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

Detroit — The Michigan State Police are reporting that no one was injured in a tanker cab fire shut down both north and southbound Interstate 75 near I-94 for several hours Tuesday morning.

According to first responders, the tanker was empty. State police reopened the entire freeway before 11:30 a.m. Northbound was reopened around 10 a.m.

The Michigan Department of Transportation's operation center reported the crash on southbound I-75, near Warren, at about 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.

A check of MDOT's freeway camera system showed dark clouds of smoke billowing over the freeway.

Southbound I-75 traffic was stopped several hundred yards away from the tanker. Several fire trucks, tow trucks and state police vehicles were scattered along the north and southbound lanes.

The cab fire was mostly extinguished by 9:45 a.m. Tuesday.

Joe Edwards had stopped for gas at a Mobil station on Warren next to the northbound lanes when he heard what sounded like an explosion.

"All you heard was a big boom, and maybe three seconds later, there were flames shooting up in the air," Edwards said. "And I heard tires of cars braking.

"I knew something blew up."

Edwards, 52, said the orange and red flames stretched hundreds of feet in the air.

"You could feel the heat," he said. "I started to smell gas, and at that point, it was time for me to go."

Edwards said he retreated into the gas station as fire department and police officials arrived.

"They came from everywhere," he said.

Edwards said he had read about previous tanker fires but didn't anticipate the intensity of witnessing a similar incident.

"You hear about it and you see it on TV, but when you experience it for yourself, you can feel the impact and the heat," he said.


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