Fiery Texas Tragedy Kills Family of Fiveby Jana Ritter - Published: 10/05/2015
A tragic accident in Texas killed a family of five (including an unborn child) early Monday morning on the westbound Interstate 20 in southern Dallas County. While the incident is still under investigation, officials believe that shortly after 6:30 a.m., a passenger vehicle slammed into the back of an 18-wheeler log truck and caused the truck's fuel tank to explode into flames.
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The fire quickly spread to the lumber and the flames grew more intense as they spread across the road. Then, the flaming lumber fell into the area directly below the bridge and ignited a second fire. Early morning commuters saw the early morning sky lit with flames as the entire ramp from westbound Interstate-20 to southbound I-35E was engulfed for about an hour. Crews with Dallas Fire Rescue were quick to respond to the scene and used water and foam to put out the blaze, and tossed wood from the overpass onto the ground as they worked to try and clear the scene. By 7:30 a.m. most of the fire on the ramp had been extinguished, and the fires underneath the bridge were completely out.
Officials still aren’t certain as to whether or not mechanical issues caused the collision and there were earlier conflicting reports as to the exact number of victims it claimed. But as of Monday afternoon they have confirmed that five people in the passenger vehicle died and tragically, it was a family of two adults, two children and an unborn child. Raul Reyna of the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office says the passenger vehicle became wedged under the truck and that is when the fuel tank on the truck exploded. “Both vehicles became engulfed in flames. The secondary vehicle was wedged between the cab and the trailer,” said Reyna. “The victims were all in the vehicle, the secondary vehicle. The tractor-trailer driver did make it out okay.” The truck driver was also coherent enough to speak to investigators following the incident and told them that he didn’t know if his truck had blown a tire or if the passenger vehicle was stalled on the ramp. Investigators say the heat from the blaze was so intense that they haven’t yet been able to determine the exact cause of the collision or even the make or model of the passenger vehicle.
The ramp has remained closed Monday afternoon as Texas Department of Transportation engineers are still determining if its structural integrity was compromised. There is still no word on exactly how long it will be before the ramp is reopened.