Photos, Video: Big Rigs Crash And Burn On 710 Freeway, Truck Dangles Over Edge [UPDATED]


Two tanker trunks collided this morning on the 710 Freeway, resulting in an intense fire that severely burned one truck driver, blackened part of the overpass and left one truck hanging over the edge.

Drivers along the 710 were alarmed to see black smoke. As traffic came to a halt just before 10 a.m., they called in reports that two tankers had crashed on the freeway, exploded and then burned.

(See also: a view of the big rig crash from above.)

NBC 4 reports that one of the trucks was carrying 8,000 gallons of crude oil. The flames spread beyond the freeway to neighboring streets in the City of Commerce, with residents filming dramatic video of gutters and streets on fire. Fortunately, no houses caught fire, NBC reports.

The Long Beach Freeway was blocked in both directions near Washington Boulevard, just south of the 5 Freeway. Northbound lanes were reopened about 90 minutes after the fire, but southbound traffic was diverted onto the southbound 5 and nearby exits. They remained closed as of 12:15 this afternoon.

Wreckage fell next to an overpass of the 710 freeway over a set of railroad tracks, homes near Sydney Drive at Dunham Street were evacuated.

Photos show one of the trucks dangling over the overpass at Union Pacific Yard.

The 710 viaduct south of the 5 was blackened by the intense fire. Caltrans is bringing in bridge engineers to check for structural damage, CNS reports.

Officials are testing the air and water in the area to determine the extent of any environmental damage, NBC reports. The resulting oil spill spanned two lanes of freeway.

UPDATED, 5:55 p.m.: All southbound lanes on the 710 Freeway will remain closed until further notice. Caltrans is considering whether the structure is sound enough to reopen before Monday traffic, KPCC reports.

Two railroad tracks below the freeway were also closed. As of 5 p.m., the burnt-out truck still needed to be removed and the 8,000 gallons of spilled oil needed to be cleaned up.

CHP officer James Kuo told KPCC, "Tow trucks are in the process of recovering whatever's left of the burnt tractor trailer. Then the clean up of the crude oil is going to be next. Then it's going to the assessment of the condition of the overpass by CalTrans."

Caltrans spokesman Patrick Chandler told City News Service that evaluation may take some time. "We have 50 feet of destroyed bridge railing, 60 feet of destroyed guard rail, an overhead sign that is damaged, and crude oil in storm drains. We're going to have to keep things closed until the engineers can look at the pavement and the bridge.''