Motorist Dead After Crashing into Tanker Truck and Causing Massive Explosionby Jana Ritter - Published: 8/13/2016
It is still not known why the driver of an SUV crashed into a tanker truck delivering fuel at a Central Texas gas station, but the impact caused a massive explosion that killed the motorist and forced over 50 local residents to evacuate the area.
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The incident occurred early Friday morning at Mickey’s Convenience Store in Killeen, TX, located at the 4500 block of East Veteran’s Memorial Boulevard. According to police, the tanker truck had been in the middle of a routine job, refueling the gas pumps shortly before 4:30 am when a motorist driving an SUV crashed into it. The collision caused an immediate explosion that led to a fire and engulfed both vehicles. The fire then spread to the store and at least six other vehicles parked in the parking lot were caught in the flames as well. The tanker truck driver was fortunate to survive the incident unharmed with the help of Good Samaritans who quickly pulled him out of the cab. However, the SUV driver was pronounced dead at the scene just after 9:35 am. An autopsy has been ordered and the victim’s name has not been released until the family is notified.
A Killeen fire truck had been en route to a nearby trailer fire and happened to pass by the convenience store at the onset of the inferno. Firefighters saw the people pulling the truck driver out of the gas tanker and immediately stopped to help. However, gasoline from the tanker flowed had flowed onto the pavement and caused the fire truck to go up in flames, completely destroying it. Fortunately no firefighters were injured and they requested aid from Fort Hood Fire to help contain the flames. They also called Killeen’s HAZMAT to the scene after firefighters discovered gasoline from the parking lot was running into a small creek that spills into Nolan Creek downstream. The situation was enough for officials to force the evacuations of 55 residents on South 56th and 58th Streets, Water Street and on Twin Creeks Drive at the Twin Creeks Apartments. The evacuated residents were offered shelter at the Killeen Special Events Center and then later were moved to the community center.
By Friday afternoon, residents of 56th Street were allowed to return home, but the homes on 58th Street remained off limits. A number of nearby businesses were forced to close as well. The fire also caused a number of power outages in the surrounding area.