‘It was pandemonium.’ Nearly 20 cars destroyed in Route 17 gas tanker crash
Nearly 20 vehicles were destroyed when a gas tanker truck crashed on Route 17 in Hasbrouck Heights Monday morning.
Residents say that the crash happened sometime after 5 a.m. on the northbound side of the highway.
“Around 5 a.m., 6 a.m. this morning the sirens started picking up. It didn’t really die down and we saw all the cars were like backing up on our street,” says resident Rich Mianulli. “It was real pandemonium.
The crash caused a massive fireball to erupt – a sight seen by many along Route 17.
“The smoke was like a huge plume, like I thought it was maybe clouds at first,” says Mianulli, “But it was black smoke like all morning.”
The Hasbrouck Heights fire chief says a gasoline tanker and a car – crashed into one another. The tanker rolled over and exploded. The fire spread to about two dozen cars at a used car lot, as well as the building.
“We have a battery-operated, electric vehicle - better known as a Tesla-style. I don't know if it's an actual Tesla that's on fire inside that building. If anyone knows anything about these types of fires, they take several thousand gallons of water to put them out,” says Chief Mike Greco.
PSE&G was on the scene making repairs to power lines that were damaged by the fire. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is monitoring the fuel that spilled onto the ground.
“We were able to hit multiple hydrants, we put four ladder pipes in operation, four deck guns on operation, six handlines. We were able to keep the fire from spreading to the self-storage warehouse,” Greco says.
New Jersey Transit’s Pascack Valley Line was suspended in both directions for a time because of the fire on the tracks. Service has resumed.
Both the driver of the car and truck were taken to the hospital – but are expected to be OK.