Truck carrying gas tanks catches fire on I-55, tanks explode

Published: Sep. 29, 2017 at 10:14 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 29, 2017 at 4:36 PM CDT
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(Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5)

CRITTENDEN COUNTY, AR - Interstate 55 near the Interstate 40 interchange was shut down for a couple hours Friday morning in Crittenden County, Arkansas.

The closure happened when a truck carrying tanks filled with acetylene (a combustible gas) caught fire. The fire started when the truck's brakes locked up.

The driver of the truck saw the initial fire and pulled over to put it out with his fire extinguisher. When he realized the fire was growing quickly, he called West Memphis Fire Department.

The gas tanks began exploding and some continued to explode even after firefighters arrived. A total of about 30 tanks are believed to have exploded in the truck.

"Our firefighters were here. They witnessed some of them explode when they were pulling up," Chief Wayne Gately said.

The driver unhinged his truck from the trailer and drove down the road to get away from the explosions.

Chief Gately said this is the second time in his 34-year career he's seen something like this.

"Thank God on that one; nobody was hurt and on this one," Gately said.

Copyright 2017 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.