DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - A tractor trailer hauling oxygen tanks erupted in flames on the side of Interstate 285 Wednesday night, critically injuring the driver who was inspecting a possible issue with the axle, according to fire officials.
It happened near Chamblee Dunwoody Road around 9:30 p.m. Captain Eric Jackson with DeKalb County Fire Rescue said the truck driver pulled the rig off the road and was inspecting the rear of the trailer when a tire exploded, causing severe facial injuries to the driver and sparking a massive fire which closed all of the westbound lanes of the highway for an hour. The driver was rushed to an area hospital.
Firefighters said the blaze burned hotter than normal because it was being fueled by the oxygen tanks, some of which exploded. Several residents in the area reported hearing multiple loud explosions and even spotted a huge fireball in the sky at one point.
A hazmat team was brought in to help with the cleanup once the main fire was extinguished.
The name of the driver was not immediately released.
Traffic was still slow-moving well into the late evening while officials worked to clean up and clear the debris.