One person dead after tanker explosion - WNEM TV 5

One person dead after tanker explosion

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Vassar Road in Tuscola County's Denmark Township is closed between M-46 and M-81 due to a tanker explosion.

The explosion happened around 3:30 a.m. near the intersection of Vassar and Wilder Road.

Authorities say one person is dead in the crash that sent flames 150 to 200 feet into the air. Flames scorched about a 100-yard radius on the ground.

The man is believed to be from the Detroit area. The company that the man was driving the truck for is called Petroleum Transport, based out of Troy, MI.

Richville Fire Chief Eric Brown says the truck was carrying about 13,000 gallons of fuel. "When we got here the flames were so bad and the truck was so badly burnt, we didn't know what it was to start with," says Brown.

Details on the person who died weren't immediately released. The cause of death is not immediately known at this time.

Brown says firefighters arrived and assessed the environmental impact of putting out the blaze, making the decision to let it burn out. 

Once crews identified the fire as coming from a fuel tank, they realized the hazards to the surrounding environment had the potential to be an even bigger disaster.

The truck was carrying ethanol and it burned without harm to the environment.

The Department of Environmental Quality visited the scene and said the first responders handled the situation the best they could have done.

The flames continued for nearly 7 hours. Vassar Road remains closed at this hour.

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