COLUMBUS (WCMH) – One person died after a tanker truck crashed and burst into flames on the US 33 and I-270 interchange in northwest Columbus Monday morning.
Dublin Police said the tanker driver died in the crash. Police said they are in the process of trying to identify him.
Traffic cameras showed large amounts of smoke and fire on the roadway just before 11 a.m.
All lanes of US 33 west are now open at I-270. Both directions of I-270 are also open.
Dublin police and fire remain on scene.
Ohio Department of Transportation bridge engineers will have to inspect the new flyover bridge for damage before reopening the ramp to traffic.
“We are looking at damage to the actual deck, but not significant. The roadway, 270 underneath, is passable. We are looking at repairing the damage within a week,” said Jack Marchbanks ODOT Deputy Director for District 6.
“The top of the bridge where we actually had the fire, we lost a bit of concrete,” said ODOT Chief Engineer Jim Barna. “Not enough where the steel is exposed, but enough where we have to shut the bridge and do emergency repairs.”
ODOT crews expect the ramp from 33E to 270N will remain closed for the next four to seven days.
Up close, passing motorists pulled out cell phones and captured the scene even before firefighters arrived.
Doug and Carla Rose, of Delaware, said the heat from the flames was intense.
“I just couldn’t believe how huge it was and the fact that we were close enough to feel the heat coming off it was surreal,” Carla said.
Doug said it was unbelievable.
“We had the windows up in the car and you could feel the heat coming through the windows of the car.”
Dublin Police Lt. Steve Farmer said the gasoline tanker had a capacity of 8,000 gallons but he didn’t know how much the tanker was carrying.
Farmer said it’s not clear yet what caused the accident.
“It was turned on its right side and it was make making a left-hand curve, so perhaps too much speed. It’s hard telling.”
Washington Township Fire Chief Alec O’Connell said firefighters had a limited water supply but they did initially try to get to the tanker.
“They initially thought the best idea was to put a hose stream in place through a ladder truck and see if there was any rescue possible, but the amount of heat and amount of fire they had, that wasn’t possible,” he said.