A tanker carrying close to 9,000 gallons of fuel overturned in the Central Valley, Calif.

Almost like straight out of a film set at Universal Studios, the residents of Atwater, Calif. witnessed several explosions and a wall of flames that licked the clear blue skies with smoke shooting up more than 20-feet in the air. According to the Merced Sun-Star on their report of the incident earlier last week (May. 24,2017) several witnesses felt multiple explosions with some reports coming from miles away in neighboring communities. Check out a couple videos that circulated social media below showing the extent of how dangerous the situation became.


According to the chief of Cal-Fire Merced,

the tanker truck was carrying about 9,000 gallons of gasoline on a delivery to the Arco gas station on Bell Lane.

And according to several eyewitnesses, the tanker was already on fire traveling down the highway prior to making it to the gas station. The Bell Lane exit off of Highway 99 is a tight exit which requires traffic to slow down to at least 25 MPH to negotiate the turn. Tanker trucks have a 9,000 gallon capacity and it’s most likely this tanker was filled to capacity. Taking the exit at a speed not meant for a full tanker may have been the cause of his accident. As we’ve mentioned before, the driver was the only fatality.

The photos at the bottom of the Merced Sun Star’s article show the extent of the damage with the charred remains of the semi, at least one completely burned car and the freeway signs advertising nearby businesses sagging from being melted.

City officials are reported to be doing their best to clean up the damage and get the businesses affected back on their feet.

It’s important to note that several people who submitted videos did so literally feet away from the flames. While somewhat brave to flim so close, with the fire’s flames so close to a gas station, not to mention unburnt fuel that has yet to catch fire, the best course of action in that situation is a safety first approach.

It would behoove anyone who witnesses any type of fiery explosion to retreat to safety as soon as possible.


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