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Massive gas-tanker fire closes Highway 134 [Updated]

April 8, 2012 |  6:44 am

A section of California Highway 134 will be closed in both directions near the busy interchange with Interstate 5 until noon today after a spectacular fire that consumed a gas tanker and another car late Saturday, the California Highway Patrol is reporting.

The fire erupted shortly after 11 p.m. when the rear trailer to the tanker was struck from behind by a car traveling at a high rate of speed heading west on the highway east of I-5, CHP Officer Ed Jacobs said.

Due to the collision, the tanker struck a guardrail and overturned, bursting into flames along the shoulder underneath the 134 connector to southbound Interstate 5, the CHP said. Flames quickly engulfed the car, a Honda, as well. Both drivers, and a passenger in the Honda, scrambled to safety and were not injured.

About 150 firefighters responding from the Los Angeles, Burbank and Glendale fire departments needed more than an hour to put out the blaze. No firefighters were injured.

The driver of the Honda, a 25-year-old Glendale man, was later tested and arrested on a charge of driving while intoxicated. His name was not immediately released.

California Department of Transportation officials are on the scene examining the connector overpass for structural integrity, the CHP said.

The highway has been closed eastbound at I-5 and westbound at San Fernando Road, Jacobs said.

[Updated at 8:02 a.m. Caltrans is reporting the eastbound freeway has reopened.]


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 -- Sam Quinones