FREDERICK, Md. - One person is dead after a major crash and tanker explosion in Frederick County Saturday that sent a large plume of smoke in the air and caused back-ups on US Route 15.
According to Frederick County Fire officials, the crash was reported around 12:00 p.m. on US Route 15 at Rosemont Avenue near Schley Avenue in Frederick.
They said that multiple calls came in reporting a house fire, followed by further calls reporting a vehicle explosion.
Officials confirmed that a tanker truck involved in the crash exploded at the scene after crashing into a tree.
According to fire personnel, the tanker was filled with a flammable liquid, which investigators believe was gasoline or diesel fuel.
Maryland State Police later confirmed that the driver of the tanker truck died as a result of the crash. No other injuries or deaths have been reported.
According to Maryland State Police, the flames caused by the explosion damaged six homes and five cars near the scene.
One of the homes located in the 500 block of Apple Avenue was severely damaged, and the family who lived there has been displaced.
The explosion also caused a small brush fire along the Route 15 corridor.
About 100 firefighters responded to the scene to help battle the flames. The fire was put out about 40 minutes after crews dispatched to the scene.
Officials say some hazardous material leaked from the tankers, but crews at the scene were able to quickly contain them prior to them reaching Carroll Creek or Frederick's sewage system.
(PHOTO: Chris Olson @COlson2848)
They also say that there is no hazardous material risk to the public in the aftermath of the explosion and fire, adding that the environmental impacts of the incident will be continually monitored.
Maryland's Department of Environment released the following statement to FOX 5 about the environmental cleanup efforts:
"The Maryland Department of the Environment's emergency response team received a call on this incident about 12:20 p.m. Saturday. Five MDE units responded.MDE arranged yesterday for a contractor with vacuum trucks to respond to the incident. One of the trucks recovered product (mixed with firefighting foam and water) from the remains of the tanker. That was completed last night. The leaked product was contained, with no indication it reached Carroll Creek. There are two storm drains near the site of the incident. MDE oversaw work to flush the storm drain system to remove any remaining product from there. We also expect that there will need to be a cleanup of soil at the site of the incident. MDE will continue to monitor and oversee progress through the remediation process."
As a result of the explosion, all lanes of US 15 between Rt 50 and 7th Street were shut down in the aftermath of the crash. Both sides of the road have since been reopened.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation by Maryland State Police.
According to FOX 5's Matthew Cappucci the smoke plume got to about 3,600 feet and was spotted on weather radar traveling east away from Frederick along I-70.
Maryland Governor Wes Moore released the following statement about the incident:
"My heart goes out to those affected by this tragedy in Frederick. I am in touch with County Executive Fitzwater, Mayor O'Connor, and the City of Frederick. The Maryland Department of the Environment, State Police, Office of the State Fire Marshall, and the Maryland Department of Transportation are on the scene of this tragic accident. We are continuing to monitor the situation closely."
This is a developing story. Stay with FOX 5 for updates.