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FHP releases details on I-95 tanker fire that injured 5 people

Uber driver traveling with 2 passengers among those injured
Tanker fire.PNG
Posted at 11:01 PM, Oct 25, 2022

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — Traffic was heavy Tuesday afternoon on Interstate 95 in Delray Beach after a three-vehicle crash caused a fuel tanker to catch fire near the Atlantic Avenue exit, injuring five people.

The crash occurred about 1:15 p.m. in the northbound lanes of I-95 approaching Atlantic Avenue.

The Florida Highway Patrol told WPTV that a car veered out of its lane and struck the right side of the fuel tanker, which overturned.

The driver of a third car, trying to avoid that initial crash, ended up hitting the concrete median.

According to the FHP, the driver was an Uber driver with two passengers.

That impact from the third vehicle led to a light pole falling over into the southbound lanes, striking two other vehicles.

Delray Beach Fire Rescue and FHP said there were five total injuries — the drivers of the first three vehicles and the two Uber passengers.

The Uber driver suffered severe burns.

Clara Geraci called 911 as she drove up to this intense scene.

"Being that I'm a Red Cross volunteer, my first reaction is to help," Geraci said.

I-95 tanker fire video screenshot from Clara Geraci
Clara Geraci was driving on Interstate 95 in Delray Beach when she passed by a burning tanker truck that shut down the highway for hours.

She went to one injured driver.

"And he had severe third-degree burns in his hands," she added. "They were very impressionable to see."

Geraci quickly moved out of the way for fire crews and for her own safety.

"The tanker was exploding," she said. "The car that was next to it was starting to explode. We couldn't see anything because everything was already engulfed."

A Delray Medical Center spokesman told WPTV the hospital received only three patients. Two have since been transferred to Jackson Memorial Hospital's burn unit in Miami, with one patient still in their care.

It also turns out there was more than one fire that Delray Beach, Boca Raton and Palm Beach County firefighters all had to tackle as fuel escaped from a storm drain, sparking a second fire along the grass shoulder.

Geraci, who has now helped in three crashes on I-95 in her lifetime, has a message — give the big rigs some space.

"You need to be aware of your surroundings, not just focus on what's in front of you, the car in front of you, but everything around you," she said.

One southbound lane and more than one northbound lane were blocked off as of Tuesday night, but the interstate has since been reopened to traffic.