Tanker catches fire on NJ Turnpike ramp

A tanker truck went up in flames on a New Jersey Turnpike exit ramp early Friday morning.

The fire engulfed the vehicle before 7 a.m. in the southbound truck lane ramp at Interchange 11.

Kevin Eson, whose house is located just feet away from the ramp, says he was awakened by the sound of the truck exploding.

"There was debris flying," Eson says. "Definitely, you can feel some heat intensity."

The heat at the site of the accident was so intense that firefighters had to wait close to 40 minutes before they could approach the source of the fire. The smoke from the wreckage could be seen from as far as Brooklyn.

Once on the scene, firefighters extinguished the blaze within minutes, dousing the flames with foam.

To the surprise of eyewitnesses, the driver of the truck was not injured.

"I thought for sure the guy probably didn't make it out of there," Eson says.

Turnpike officials say the extreme heat from the fire could have seriously damaged the roads. Workers are now determining whether the exit ramp needs to be repaired or repaved.

Although construction crews usually do not work on weekends during the summer months, they may have to make an exception in this case in order to repair the ramp as quickly as possible.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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