LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC (WIS) - All lanes of Interstate 26 are back open after a 10-vehicle accident involving a gasoline tanker turned large swaths of the interstate into a parking lot at the height of the morning rush hour.
The crash happened just before 6 a.m. Wednesday, but details surrounding how the crash occurred remain under investigation. The highway was shut down in both directions for several hours while the wreckage was cleared. Westbound lanes opened first.
Eight cars, a tractor trailer, and the gasoline tanker carrying 8,500 gallons of fuel were involved in the accident between exit 104 and 106. Gasoline spilled from the tanker onto I-26 and caught fire.
Fire officials and South Carolina Highway Patrol troopers immediately swarmed the scene to gain control of the blaze and shut down the interstate.
Trooper David Jones said four people were taken to area hospitals with minor injuries.
Brick Lewis with the Columbia Fire Department said the fire spread off the west side of the interstate toward Jamil Road and firefighters extinguished flames that were threatening a nearby residential area.
After gaining control of the fire, emergency officials removed four victims from the scene and sent them to nearby hospitals. Surprisingly, no one was killed in the crash.
"Really I was thinking about getting everything out of my condo because that fire was coming real close down the line," said Justin Simons who had to leave his home during the fire. "People were panicking, moving vehicles, running trying to get kids, get animals. Pretty much get out the way."
Parts of the interstate pavement were severely damaged by the fire.
DHEC was also called to the scene to check out a substance leaking from one of the tractor-trailers.
SCDOT officials said additional work will be required on the crash site during the coming weeks however.