A major accident on Hwy. 105 just east of Sour Lake has closed down the highway in both directions after a tractor trailer carrying a load, of what emergency officials believe was crude oil, burst into flames as it broke apart from contact with a concrete culvert.
A sheriff's deputy and fire fighters at the scene said there were no fatalities resulting from the collision, which actually took place a few hundred feet west of the fire. The deputy said the truck driver tried to save the rig from overturning but it hit a ditch and then slammed into the culvert.
Fire departments from Sour Lake, Pinewood, Beaumont and other parts of Hardin County were responding to the scene.
As of 7 a.m. the fire was still burning and officials were putting together a plan of action. One scenario being considered was allowing the fire to burn itself out in order to help contain the crude oil. The incident occurred around 5:15 a.m., according to reports from homeowners, who said they were awakened by a loud explosion.
UPDATE: A female fire fighter was seriously injured after an 18-wheeler backed over her, according to a spokesperson for the Pinewood Volunteer Fire Department. The woman was in surgery at an area hospital but no further information was available regarding her condition.
According to the department, the call for the fire came in at 5:24 a.m. and the seen was cleared shortly before 11:30 a.m. Although the fire was contained relatively quickly, the clean-up of the spilled crude oil took several hours.
A dispatcher with the Hardin County Sheriff's Department said the highway is now open and traffic is moving freely.