DENVER, N.C. (WBTV) - A gasoline tanker that overturned in a fatal crash that blocked a portion of Highway 16 and leaked fuel into a creek in Lincoln County Tuesday afternoon caught fire hours later.
The crash happened before 2:15 p.m. on Highway 16 at St. James Church Road. The driver of the tanker was killed in the crash, officials confirmed. The victim’s name has not been released.
The driver of another vehicle involved was taken to the hospital. That’s person’s name and the extent of their injuries have not been made public.
Officials said when the tanker overturned, blocking one side of the road completely, fuel spilled from the tanker.
Before 5 p.m., the tanker and spilled fuel caught fire as crews were still working to clear the scene. According to officials, the tanker went up in flames and that led to a brush fire.
From WBTV’s Sky3, firefighters could be seen using foam to get the flames under control as late as 5:30 p.m.
Firefighters evacuated the area once the flames erupted. It is unclear what sparked the fire.
Emergency officials in Lincoln County said cleanup would take some time. The remaining fuel needed to be drained from the tanker and the truck itself will need to be removed once they are sure the fire is under control.
Highway Patrol opened up the roads several hours after closing it for hours and asking drivers to avoid the area by taking Hwy 16 Business to get around the scene.
Some of the fuel, officials said, spilled into a nearby creek. Lincoln County officials say they will be working with the Department of Environmental Quality to determine the extent of the leak.
The road was reopened by Wednesday morning.
Details surrounding what may have led to the crash were not released.