Fireball engulfs crashed tanker on I-70 near Edwards
EAGLE COUNTY – A dark cloud covered the upper Eagle Valley most of Saturday, Dec. 4, the remnants of a tanker truck explosion that occurred earlier in that morning.
The driver of the truck, Chris Lyons, 31, of Clifton County, suffered only minor injuries when his truck overturned on westbound Interstate 70 near Edwards.
The truck, which was carrying gasoline, exploded in the crash, said Battalion Chief Kevin Rindy of the Eagle River Fire Protection District.
Lyons was apparently changing his radio when his truck ran off the left side of I-70 and struck a guardrail. The truck turned on its side, slid into the right lane and caught fire, according to State Patrol reports. The tanker was hauling 6,000 gallons of unleaded fuel and 2,000 gallons of diesel fuel, troopers said.
The accident happened around 1:40 a.m. Firefighters contained the blaze and stayed until the fire went out around 6:45 a.m., Rindy said.
“We had to let it burn off,” he said.
Both lanes of westbound I-70 were closed until about 10 a.m. Saturday. One lane was re-opened and only one lane remained open for much of the day.
The diesel fire sent clouds of dark smoke into the air that was still visible by afternoon.
Vail Valley Medical Center had no reports of people having respiratory trouble because of the smoke, said Sarah Ladd, hospital spokeswoman.
Roads were dry and clear when the accident happened. Lyons, who was wearing a seatbelt, was ticketed for careless driving.
Staff Writer Tamara Miller can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext. 607, or firstname.lastname@example.org.