SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — A big rig tanker got a flat tire while driving on Interstate 280 Northbound in San Jose and then burst into flames on Wednesday evening, according to the CHP.
All lanes were closed at around 8:08 p.m. CHP San Jose announced that one lane was open at 9:40 p.m. The vehicle was a two-trailer big rig with an 8,000-gallon gas tanker behind it. The vehicle caught on fire at the Lawrence Expressway exit.
San Jose Fire Department received the call at 7:50 p.m. Six units responded to the scene. The fire was under control in around 30 minutes and hazmat crews continued to check if the second tanker–the only one to ignite–was leaking any further gas. The first tanker was undamaged.
As a precaution, fire officials dispatched an additional structure response to protect residences on the other side of the wall from a potential explosion.
“Initially, there were 20, 30-foot flames coming from the second trailer,” said Darren Wallace, Battalion Chief of San Jose Fire Department. He said crews were waiting for a tow truck and a truck to pump out the remaining gas in the second tanker and that it could be “quite a while” before the lanes are reopened.
“It could have been much worse,” said Wallace. He said the safety features of the tanker worked properly and kept the product contained. The fire began on the rear wheels of the vehicle before extending to the trailer.
A Sigalert was issued at 8:05 p.m. Northbound traffic was being diverted off at Saratoga Ave and southbound traffic was being diverted at Lawrence Expressway. Traffic was said to be backed up as far as I-880.
Motorists are advised to avoid the area if possible while crews work to clear the accident.
There is no estimated time to reopen the roadway. There were no reported injuries.