The fire began around 11:15 a.m. Wednesday. Crews battled the blaze for nearly two hours.
The driver of the tanker, Ron Thomas, 54-years-old, has been a truck driver all his life but he never experienced anything like this. Family says Thomas even helped rescue others at the accident scene.
"I talked to my brother. He was able to get out of the burning truck and save that driver's life by dragging him out of the car, as his truck was on fire," says Doug Thomas.
"The tanker struck the side of the overpass over the rotunda overpass there, which lead to the opening of the tank and the gasoline and the diesel getting out," says Dearborn Fire Chief Joseph Murray.
That's 6,800 gallons of gasoline - plus 5,800 gallons of diesel fuel - that spilled onto eastbound I-94, causing black clouds of smoke to be seen for miles. Dearborn police had streets blocked for hours. Very few got close to the scene.
"The heat got so hot, I started to back up. I thought it was people down there at first; I thought it was just the freeway blew up. Then somebody else came over from work and said there are vehicles down there. I was going to run down there to see what I could do but it was too hot, I couldn't," says a witness.
And the fire caused other problems.
"[The explosion] really shook the ground. It was really loud. A lot of smoke for miles and miles, really loud explosion. I thought it was time to leave, to get out of there," says another witness.
There are conflicting reports from witnesses to exactly what caused the accident.
Michigan State Police are handling the investigation.
We're told Ron Thomas was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
"They're taking him to the clinic. He's got burns on his head and his hands. He's going to be okay. He's a hero," says his brother.
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