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Witnesses describe 'insane' tanker fire, traffic on I-95 in Delray Beach

Fire shuts down all lanes of I-95 for hours
Posted at 10:02 PM, Oct 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-26 00:33:48-04

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — A three-vehicle collision that set a tanker truck on fire Tuesday on Interstate 95 could be heard throughout Delray Beach.

"Insane. Insane. I could hear it from inside," resident Paulo Quiroz said. "So really it was like a loud crash, like a loud boom. I stepped outside. At first, it was the smell of smoke and then you could see it started to flame up a little bit."

The fire grew to create large clouds of thick black smoke, shutting both directions of I-95.

"It was very crazy," Jennings Taylor, who works at Tin Roof on Atlantic Avenue, told WPTV. "It almost looked like the set of a movie. The fire, the smoke was just unreal, unreal."

WSVN helicopter aerial of tanker truck burning on I-95 in Delray Beach, Oct. 25, 2022
Heavy flames and thick smoke can be seen from above Interstate 95 after a tanker truck catches fire, Oct. 25, 2022, in Delray Beach, Fla.

Taylor said the traffic from the crash made him late for work.

"I have a very short commute to work," he said. "I'm just off the highway, probably get here in five minutes only, but with all the traffic getting redirected took me almost 30 minutes to get here."

Surrounding detour roads also became congested from south Boynton Beach to Palmetto Park Road in Boca Raton.

"When I looked outside my front porch, I could just see billows and billows of smoke," Taylor said. "I saw the whole highway was stopped. When I drove here, under the bridge, nobody was moving."

Other people who spoke with WPTV along Atlantic Avenue said the traffic caused them to be late for meetings and dinners.

"It's just crazy," Quiroz said. "I hope everybody is OK. I hope everybody is good. I hope the driver is OK."

It took about five hours before all southbound lanes reopened. As of Tuesday night, only two northbound lanes were reopened.