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Gas truck overturns, explodes in Hasbrouck Heights, N.J., snarling Route 17

Tanker truck overturns, explodes on Route 17
Tanker truck overturns, explodes on Route 17 02:21

HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, N.J. -- There was an incredible scene in Bergen County Monday after a tanker truck overturned and exploded. 

There was an inferno early Monday morning on the northbound lanes of Route 17 in Hasbrouck Heights. Fire officials said a gasoline tanker truck overturned after colliding with another vehicle. 

"It exploded on impact. Unfortunately lit the commercial building on fire behind it, and we have gasoline tanker and a commercial building fully involved on arrival," Hasbrouck Heights Fire Chief Mike Greco said. 

A tanker truck crash is impacting the commute for drivers on Route 17 in Bergen County, New Jersey. CBS New York

The flames shot up 100 feet into the early morning sky. 

The commercial building on fire is a local car-buying service. The owner said about 20 cars went up in flames, and his business was completely destroyed. 

The massive fire snarled traffic for hours, shutting down both lanes of Route 17. 

"Getting to work is always hard as it is on Route 17, but it didn't help that it was closed today," Andre Semeniv said. 


Firefighters were on the scene within minutes and were able to stop the flames from spreading to a self-storage facility. 

The fire chief dispatched crews as smoke filled his own home. 

Greco said the tanker truck driver and the person in the other vehicle were able to escape the flames. They were both treated for minor injuries at Hackensack Medical Center. 

"I am just glad nobody got hurt. Surprising, but from what I saw, I did see the truck, looked like it flipped," Nick Abbruzzese of Route 17 Nissan said. 

Route 17 Nissan, across the street, shut down after losing power. Abbruzzese said he was grateful it wasn't worse. 

"It's a shame. It looks like he lost everything there. The whole building's gone," he said. 

Bergen County hazmat crews were also on the scene. 

"We could not see the actual placard number because there was so much fire, could smell what seemed to be gasoline," Greco said. 

The southbound lanes of Route 17 reopened before noon. 

Investigators are trying to piece together exactly what happened. 

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