A semi truck crash, just after five o'clock this morning, closed all of the southbound lanes of Highway 101 in San Francisco. California State Troopers said that the multi-vehicle accident overturned a tanker truck which started a fire.
At least one driver was hospitalized at San Francisco General Hospital with minor injuries after the truck accident. Fortunately, despite the large blaze that erupted after the initial accident, there have not yet been reports of potential injuries to the other drivers involved in the accident.
According to a story on the web page for the San Francisco Chronicle, debris from the crash also fell from the freeway onto 16th street. This required one Muni line to initiate a detour in order to avoid the debris.
Every motor vehicle accident has the potential to start a fire. A ruptured fuel line or gas tank can be ignited by exposed electrical wires or from the sparks generated by the crash. This is a serious concern in any accident, but the potential risk is far greater when a tanker truck is involved in a crash.
A tanker truck carrying fuel poses an obvious hazard of creating a fiery wreck if it is involved in an accident. Other semi loads can pose serious risks as well. Semis carrying dangerous chemicals can pose a risk of repertory injuries or chemical burns if they are in a crash, even a semi load of scrap metal can cause serious damage if the load is not properly secured or if it comes loose in an accident.
Source: San Francisco Chronicle "Fiery truck crash shuts down Highway 101 in SF," Henry K. Lee, Oct. 19, 2011