Truck explodes under Colo. overpass; 1 dead

/ Source: The Associated Press

A tractor-trailer rig crashed and exploded in flames early Wednesday, killing at least one person and snapping off an overpass support column.

The overpass did not collapse but authorities closed an 11-mile section of Interstate 70 in this western Colorado city.

A second person was believed to be in the truck and was feared dead, but crews were waiting to make sure the overpass was stable before searching the charred wreckage.

“We have at least one fatality at this point and we don’t want anybody else hurt,” Fire Department spokesman Mike Page said. “Anybody who was in the accident, there’s no way they could have survived this incident.”

Traffic was detoured to side roads. About 19,000 vehicles a day use I-70 in Grand Junction, 200 miles west of Denver.

The rig careened to the right, took out 75 feet of guardrail, smashed into the support column and exploded, said Stacy Stegman, spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Transportation.

State engineers were going to assess the damage before determining when the highway could be reopened.

The westbound truck was carrying 55-gallon drums of sodium hypochlorite, a form of bleach, along with commercial cleaning liquids and industrial hardware, police said. The chemicals posed no danger to the public or cleanup crews, they said.