Tanker truck crashes and erupts into flames in Sweetwater


An 18-wheeler fire sent giant plumes of smoke into the sky and shut down a Texas interstate Thursday afternoon.

Officials said the fire started near a truck stop in Sweetwater, Texas, around noon. Witnesses said they heard a loud explosion as the fire started.

The driver, identified as 26-year-old Josh Winegeart of Sweetwater, told firefighters that he had a blowout and lost control of the truck. The truck went between the two bridges and back onto I-20.

After coming to a rest, the tanker burst into flames, sending a large plume of black smoke into the air. Winegeart said he was hauling 7,700 gallons of agricultural diesel.

Firefighters were able to get the fire extinguished in about an hour.

Winegeart was airlifted to a Lubbock hospital with severe burns, a head injury and multiple fractures.

I-20 in Sweetwater remains closed at this time as TXDOT engineers inspect damage to the bridge from this fire. TXDOT must determine if the bridge is stable and safe for traffic.


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