HAWTHORNE (CBSLA) – Metro Green Line service has been restored following Friday’s fiery tanker-truck crash on the 105 Freeway in Hawthorne, which knocked out Metro power lines for nearly a full day.
Power lines that supply energy to trains and a section of the tracks that run between the Hawthorne/Lennox and Vermont/Athens stations were damaged in the collision between a gasoline-filled double-tanker truck and a 2002 Land Rover Discovery on the westbound 105 Freeway at Prairie Avenue early Friday morning in Hawthorne, which killed both drivers.
Service to all Metro Green Line stations resumed at 4 a.m. Saturday, Metro spokesman Jose Ubaldo said. Passengers had to be shuttled by bus between stations during the closure, which lasted all day Friday.
Uber driver Hisaki Shimidu, who witnessed the crash, told CBS2 that the SUV was swerving in and out of traffic when it crashed into a center divider. The tanker-truck was unable to brake in time, and also then jackknifed and slammed into the divider as well.
The impact with the wall caused both vehicles to become fully engulfed in flames, with both motorists dying at the scene. The front tanker exploded into a fireball, while the rear tanker flipped over but did not spill gasoline or catch fire.
The resulting inferno led to a full closure of the freeway in both directions, backing up traffic for miles at the onset of Friday morning rush hour. The 105 Freeway is a vital artery for those headed to L.A. International Airport.
It took nearly 90 minutes for the blaze to burn out. Los Angeles County fire crews initially began pouring water on the fire, but after realizing they would be unable to douse the flames — and that nobody in either vehicle could have survived the inferno — they opted to let the blaze burn itself out. That took about two hours.
The eastbound side of the 105 Freeway reopened about three hours after the crash, but westbound lanes remained closed until about 7:30 p.m. Friday. An extra truck was brought in to remove the gasoline from the tanker that flipped over. After the gasoline was safely collected and the debris cleaned up, Caltrans crews had to inspect the road and make repairs. The delay was so long, at one point, a food truck opened up shop in the carpool lanes.
Coroner’s officials had to wait for the fuel to be off-loaded before entering the scene to remove the remains.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation. The victims were not immediately identified.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)