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SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE (CBSMiami) – Crews hauled off a tanker that turned over and caught fire during the Tuesday morning rush – shutting down parts of the Florida Turnpike (SR-821) in southwest Miami-Dade for hours.
The northbound lanes and parts of the southbound lanes reopened from Coral Reef Drive (SW 152nd Street) to Eureka Drive hours after being shutdown.
The tanker, operated by a company called 2955 Transport, was carrying fuel when a weight shift caused the driver to lose control of half of the tanker causing it to overturn and catch fire, according to Florida Highway Patrol.
“It had 2,000 gallons of gasoline. Seven hundred gallons of diesel. Miami Dade Fire Rescue had 11 units on scene, 32 firefighters. We used the foam truck from Tamiami Airport,” said Chief Tom Kenney with Miami-Dade Fire Rescue.
The tanker driver Noel Menese declined to speak with CBS4’s Gary Nelson but he told investigators he lost control possibly due to a tire blow out on the 28-year old truck. He was not injured in the incident.
Crews were able to put out the blaze after two tries.
The fire prompted authorities to close down all the lanes on the Turnpike around 9 a.m. causing some major traffic tie ups in the area for hours.
“We decided to go ahead and completely close off the Turnpike due to the safety of everyone.,” said Joe Sanchez with Florida Highway Patrol.
Drivers throughout the day were being asked to avoid the area due to traffic delays since the lanes were slowly reopened through the day. At last check, one southbound lane remained closed where the asphalt was damaged from the fire.
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Environmental officials were also at the scene measuring what ecological damage may have been done by the spill of thousands of gallons of fuel.