A huge ball of flames engulfed a gasoline tanker truck on a freeway outside of Los Angeles on Sunday, sending black plumes of smoke into the air that could be seen for miles and causing a traffic nightmare.
The double-tanker truck was hauling 8,800 gallons of gas on the southbound 710 Freeway when it jackknifed near the Florence Avenue exit in Bell and exploded in flames, California Highway Patrol officials said.
Dozens of firefighters arrived just after 3:30 p.m. to battle the huge fire, which could be seen as far as downtown Los Angeles.
Tanker truck fire on 710 south watching from 710N pic.twitter.com/yMy37qLGTc
— Colleen Williams (@ColleenNBCLA) April 26, 2015
Crews managed to extinguish the flames about an hour later. No injuries were immediately reported.
The driver escaped the crash with minor bumps and bruises, fire officials said. A passenger in the truck was also OK.
"(The driver) heard a loud pop. He looked in his rearview mirror and he noticed that the rear trailer had overturned," said CHP Officer Juan Galvan.
Northbound lanes of the 710 Freeway reopened about 9:30 p.m. after an hours-long closure that backed up traffic for miles.
Southbound lanes were expected to remain closed through mid-Monday morning, CHP officials said.
Crews were working to clean up what was left of the charred tanker and Caltrans officials were assessing the severity of the damage to the road.
SB 710 still closed for cleanup. The last piece of the burnt gas tanker is being hoisteded in the air by a tow truck pic.twitter.com/WWIMw1SqhU
— Kate Larsen (@KateNBCLA) April 27, 2015
The cause of the crash was unclear. CHP officials said no other vehicles were involved in the wreck.
This massive tanker fire that shut the #710 Freeway Sunday afternoon was unbelievable! #NewsChopper4 was the only news helicopter over the towering flames, which we streamed live on the NBC LA app. Did you see the fire? Tag your picture with #NBC4You – we’re collecting images and want to add yours!
A video posted by NBC4 Southern California (@nbcla) on
NBC4's Kate Larsen contributed to this report.