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10/28/2013 08:18 pm ET | Updated Oct 29, 2013

Big Rig With 8,000 Gallons of Oil Explodes On Freeway (VIDEOS)

Causing what was dubbed a "freeway inferno," a big-rig truck carrying more than 8,000 gallons of oil exploded on a Los Angeles freeway Sunday.

The rig was traveling on the Long Beach 710 freeway in Commerce, Calif. when it crashed into a side rail and burst into flames as it dangled over the side of the road.

"The witnesses described it as an explosion. It was a burst of flame, not a bomb," CHP St. Robert Marquez said to The Huffington Post. "There's always going to be a sound when you have a pressurized tank and whatever was inside of it caught on fire."

"As the vehicle was going out of control, it was dropping much of its crude oil and some diesel across about 600 feet," he described. "Due to possibly sparks, it caught on fire and the flame traveled the long path the truck had traced."

Aerial footage from NBC showed the burned carcass of the rig hanging off the overpass and onto train tracks below the freeway.
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Some of the truck's spilled oil flowed into a residential neighborhood, incinerating two parked trucks, the Los Angeles Times reports. The driver managed to escape but was "severely burned" and in critical condition.

A second person, believed to be on a street below, suffered moderate injuries, KTLA reports. The explosion prompted authorities to shut down the freeway, causing a major traffic jam.

The fire also prompted nearby residents to evacuate from their homes, CBS reports. Sunday evening, Caltrans officials assessed the structural integrity of the blackened freeway bridge.

A neighbor and a driver caught the scary incident on video:

The freeway reopend Monday morning. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

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