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Tanker fire shuts down parts of LA freeways

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POSTED April 8, 2012 6:34 p.m.

GLENDALE (AP) — The driver of a car that slammed into the rear of a gasoline tanker that burst into flames was arrested Sunday on suspicion of drunken driving, and westbound lanes of the 134 Freeway remained closed more than 12 hours after the fiery collision.

Los Angeles fire officials said some 6,000 gallons of fuel burned as both vehicles were engulfed in flames Saturday night at the junction with the 5 Freeway near Griffith Park. Home video captured by a passing motorist showed flaming gas flowing in the freeway gutters, according to City News Service.

The California Highway Patrol reopened the eastbound 134 Freeway after sunup Sunday. But the westbound freeway bridge over the Los Angeles River was expected to be closed until at least 6 p.m. as crews make repairs. All traffic was detoured to the northbound 5 Freeway.

California Department of Transportation officials were on the scene examining the connector overpass for structural integrity, the CHP said.

Authorities said no one was injured in the crash shortly after 11 p.m. Saturday.

The Peterbilt tanker carrying about 9,000 gallons of gasoline split open and caught fire after being struck from behind at a high rate of speed by a Honda sedan, the CHP said. The tanker struck a guardrail and overturned.

Two water-dropping helicopters helped quench the fire, which briefly threatened to spread into the brush. Some 150 firefighters had the blaze out by 12:30 a.m.

The drivers of both vehicles managed to scramble to safety, the CHP said.

The driver of the Honda, 25-year-old Hakop Maghakyan of Glendale, was later tested and arrested on a charge of driving while intoxicated, according to the CHP.

Cleanup crews siphoned up the roughly 3,000 gallons of gasoline left in one of the truck's two tankers.

 

 

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