PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Residents west of Boynton Beach said a booming explosion woke them up early Friday morning.
That blast triggered an inferno in the northbound lanes of Florida's Turnpike, just north of Boynton Beach Boulevard, as a fuel tanker truck erupted in flames.
"I was laying in bed. Heard a freight train sound," said Ian Clark, a resident who lives near the Turnpike. "No boom or anything. And the whole house lit up orange. And I look right out the window, and I thought it was a plane crash at first. And then I saw it completely enveloped in fuel, and it was horrifying."
Clark lives in the Misty Cay community, which backs right up to the Turnpike.
Clark became visibly emotional while talking to WPTV and learning the driver of the tanker truck survived the crash without any injuries.
"I thought there was no chance he would survive. So, I thank God for that miracle," Clark said. "That's a Christmas blessing right there because it happened so fast. To me, a matter of seconds."
Palm Beach County Fire Rescue said the fiery wreck happened on the Hypoluxo Road overpass, just north of Boynton Beach Boulevard, shortly before 6 a.m.
The tanker was the only vehicle involved in the crash, and the driver escaped with no injuries.
"What did it sound like?" WPTV anchor Hollani Davis asked one resident.
"Like popping. Like explosions," the woman replied.
"How many booms?" Davis followed up.
"It was at least three or four," the woman answered. "We thought our backyard was on fire."
"We were just sleeping, and then, I guess there was a bang because that's what woke me up," another resident said. "And then when I looked out the master bedroom window, the whole thing was glowing orange."
Residents who live in the Isola Bella community in the area of U.S. Highway 441 and Hypoluxo Road said on the WPTV Facebook page they heard a loud explosion just before 6 a.m.
Aerial video from WPTV Chopper 5 showed the semi-truck engulfed in flames in the northbound lanes and fuel leaking from the vehicle, trailing down both sides of the Turnpike.
The fire was completely put out just before 7:30 a.m., with the wreckage covered in white foam.
Davis said Palm Beach County Fire Rescue was pumping water out of a canal alongside the Turnpike to help fight the flames and was also hosing down nearby brush to prevent the blaze from spreading.
Once the fire was extinguished, Davis said, the firefighters began putting water back into the canal.