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Caltrans investigates safety of bridge after tanker fire on 134 Freeway

April 8, 2012 |  7:11 pm

A contractor for the California Department of Transportation is on site at the connector between the westbound 134 Freeway and southbound 5 Freeway, taking samples of concrete to determine if the bridge was structurally damaged by a massive fuel fire that closed the westbound lanes of the freeway throughout the day Sunday.

Caltrans spokeswoman Lauren Wonder said the team drilled into the concrete to take 3-inch samples to make sure the bridge was safe to reopen.

The fire started when the two-tank trailer rig carrying 8,600 gallons of fuel was rear-ended by a Honda traveling at a high rate of speed, according to the California Highway Patrol. The car was heading west, east of the 5 Freeway.

The driver of the car, Hakop Maghakyan, 25, of Glendale, was arrested after the crash on suspicion of driving under the influence. An estimated 6,000 gallons of fuel erupted in flames.

The rear tank hit a guardrail and overturned, bursting into flames along the shoulder under the 134 connector to the southbound 5. The Honda also burst into flames. Maghakyan, the driver of the truck and a passenger in the Honda scrambled to safety and were not injured.