Tanker fire damages I-94, eastbound lanes to stay closed

"When it hit the wall, I'm saying, flames and stuff flew up everywhere," said witness Damus Vanover

Damus Vanover got lucky on his way to Motor City Casino. He escaped the inferno on I-94. He was was behind the tanker when it hit the cars, drove past and watched the blast.

"Scared me to death, flames everywhere, things were flying all over all on the freeway.  It scared me to death. I didn't know what to do," said Vanover.

A crash and flames and 13,000 gallons of fuel burning, running into the freeway's sewer system. Now there is so much to deal with before the traffic can flow on I-94 once again.

"They are unloading about 1,000 gallons of fuel, a mixture of diesel and gasoline that has to be pulled out of there," said Diane Cross from the Michigan Department of Transportation.

The Michigan Department of Transportation on scene along with the Western Wayne County Hazmat Team, the Michigan State Police and Dearborn Fire. There are concerns over how far the fuel travelled when it spilled into the sewer, now in the water pumping station.

"We have turned the pumps off so we do have some control over it right now and we still have members out examining different sites. We're still trying to find out how far it's gotten out there," said Dearborn Fire Chief Joseph Murray.

As for I-94 eastbound, it's closed until further notice.

"Just because of the significant amount of heat that's on it, it causes the concrete to crack up. If you look down there right now you can see it's all chopped up and spalded out," said Murray.

"About 150 feet are going to have to be ground up, dug up and then all new concrete poured through here," said Cross.

"I-94 is vitally important not only for the commuting traffic but you know for economic purposes," said Rob Morosi, from the Michigan Department of Transportation. "I mean you have millions of dollars a day in commerce coming up and down this freeway so there's a lot of pressure on us to get this re-opened as soon as possible. I just want to assure everybody that we're going to do everything in our power that we're going to get it open as fast as possible but it has to be safe." 
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