LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A tanker truck fire has caused substantial damage and massive traffic jams on the Pomona (60) Freeway in Montebello Wednesday.

The freeway was closed in both directions between the San Gabriel and Garfield exits. Westbound drivers could get on the freeway at Garfield and motorists going eastbound could get on the freeway at the San Gabriel onramp.

“We anticipate that this closure is going to remain in effect into the early morning hours,” California Highway Patrol Sgt. Denise Joslin said. “We encourage motorists to take alternate routes of travel or to take public transportation.”

Cars were backed up for miles as the evening’s commuters tried to make their way home.

snapshot j 20111214 0010 60 Freeway To Be Closed For Days As Crews Clean Up After Tanker Truck Fire


“At this time, we’re off-loading what’s remaining of the gasoline in the tanker,” Montebello Fire Chief Tim Wessel said during a press conference Wednesday night. “We had 8,800 gallons of gasoline.”

“Once we off-load the remainder of the gasoline and we deem the site safe then we will allow Cal Trans to get in to start doing their evaluation of the bridge. It is still a very unsafe scene and we don’t want any accidents to happen.”

Wessel said crews were working to stop the run-off from getting into the storm drains.

The fire was reported to police by several drivers at about 12:10 p.m. Wednesday.

tanker truck fire 60 Freeway To Be Closed For Days As Crews Clean Up After Tanker Truck Fire

(credit: CBS)

Plumes of thick black smoke engulfed the area as firefighters worked to extinguish the inferno, an effort that took more than an hour.

The burning tanker was partially beneath a segment of Paramount Boulevard crossing over the freeway. Sources told KCAL9 that the fire devastated the bridge, which had no concrete left underneath.

Fire crews sprayed a foam-like substance on the fire and by 1:20 p.m. appeared to have knocked down most of the flames.

Two people in the cab of the truck managed to get out safely, CHP Officer Vince Ramirez told KCAL9. The preliminary investigation indicated that the truck’s brakes may have overheated, Ramirez said.

Crews were working into the night to clear the hazardous site.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

Comments (20)
  1. Beavis Human says:

    I don’t understand why they don’t hook a cable on the rear of the rig and drag it out from under the overpass to prevent the overpass from being destroyed…

    1. Terry Vann says:

      Suspect a numb er of reasons..moving could release much more fuel from tanker.
      Limited water and foam supply on the highway.

    2. james says:

      Its not beavis is but head, Lol

    3. aconcernedcitizen says:

      You want to be the one who runs up to a burning tanker truck and hooks up the cable?

    4. JCINHB says:

      I agree 100%, unless it was heavy bumper to bumper traffic, the driver should have gotten out from under the bridge or 2nd the fire crews could have pulled the truck forward under the bridge… THE COST OF THIS IS GOING TO BE HUGE! Cost to repair bridge & road and the hundreds of thousands of hours of traffic until this is repaired.. A FEW HUNDRED MILLION FOR SURE!

  2. koala says:

    Didn’t look overturned to me………..and Beavis – it’s called HOT…..you wanna get near it?

  3. Nancy M. says:

    There’s probably explosive fuel in the truck Or some sort of dangerous gas. Nobody wants to get near to that. That’s my freeway exit! Traffic will be hell tonight. Hopefully they can clean this up. Didn’t they have a sig a lert on the other side of that freeway last week at lunch time. It was supposed to have been an oil spill. Traffic was horrendous that night.

  4. cm says:

    Thats my exit I had a doctors appointment my guess is i better leave now instead of 3:30 maybe i should just change it..I know they cant find the driver, My heart goes out to the driver and his loved one’s during this time that we should all be showing some love to one another.

  5. mark says:

    Has anyomne heard of FireIce? It’s a product that fire departments should be using rather than toxic foams. It takes fire down quickly and is enviornmentally safe.

  6. Eve says:

    I was stuck there for 3 hours, thank God we were able to exit through the on ramp.

  7. Julian B Duron says:

    What “idiot” or mentally ill truck driver” parks a burning tanker truck under a freeway overpass. This repair will cost millions of taxpayer dollars to repair. I hope CHP and NTSB checks drivers training and drivers hours and up to and including company owners safety records.

    1. rich says:

      agreed if he bailed out under the overpass he could have rode it a few more feet THEN bailed out MORON driver

  8. Darrell Nelson says:

    well if thats the case…he just got a raise. cause villa-logo and a boy scout leader name beck want to give a free pass to illegal mexs without lic. an insurance.

  9. Angie L. says:

    They said it looks like the vehicle caught fire while still in motion. Which means they pulled over and got out as soon as they could! What did you expect them to do drive around looking for a safe place to blow up?! You are an idiot. I would have did the same thing! My vehicle is on fire I have to get out!

    1. JCINHB says:

      I had a small fire on my RV on the 405 last year and pulled over then got out of the vehicle. If he was actually rolling, get out from under the bridge then evacuate.

    2. Chris M says:

      The vehicle was in motion, meaning he could have stopped before the truck got under the over pass. Many reports were called into the chp before the truck driver even stopped. I think the idiot was the driver, especially when he could of spotted the fire via his mirrors. If not him, his passenger could of seen it unless they were both distracted or just not paying attention.

  10. tinacotts says:

    hi just registered ,, tinas

  11. DWright says:

    This is terrible, I hope no one was hurt, it does not say here. My concern here is once the driver saw his truck on fire, did he call the fire department? Many people whom are driving these trucks are driving them like they think they are in cars, they are unable to judge distance and make turns in front of people, they do not adhere to traffic laws. Just because they are in trucks and have all that weight behind them they think they can concur the world. Not so, you kill people! I do not want to sound racist but, some cultures out here drive like the drove in their own states and think it’s ok here, I hope the CHP takes note of whatever happened here, the cost will be tremendous.

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