Fuel tanker fire shuts down Hwy 59, knocks out power to area for hours

October 28, 2011 4:23:54 AM PDT
Authorities shut down the entire Southwest Freeway at Highway 90A in Sugar Land for hours overnight after a tanker truck hauling diesel fuel caught fire.

The incident happened around around midnight as the tanker truck was traveling southbound on the Southwest Freeway and its service road.

Sugar Land police say the driver of the 18-wheeler was traveling southbound on the main lanes of the Highway 59 when he went over Highway 90A and heard a pop. He exited the big rig onto the feeder road at Dairy Ashford, got out of the cab and saw his truck was on fire. The fire was contained around 1am.

"We were able to put out the fire, but the tanker truck lost a considerable amount of diesel fuel. The diesel fuel has washed into the storm sewer, which was under Highway 59," said Doug Adolph with the Sugar Land Police Department.

The driver is OK, but at least 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel leaked from the truck so HazMat crews were called out the scene. They have contained the leak and cleaned up the fuel. Sugar Land police say there was no immediate danger to the community.

The fire was so intense that it burned some nearby power lines and knocked out power to the area. CenterPoint says some 3,000 customers in Sugar Land were left in the dark. Most of the power has been restored to the area. Crews are working on getting bower to those affected areas.

The entire freeway was shut down in both directions for hours and was reopened before 4am. The southbound feeder lanes remain closed.

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