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Massive Tanker Fire Shuts Down DC Highways

Massive Tanker Fire Shuts Down DC Highways

The fire occurred on Montrose Road. (WTOP Photo/Kristi King)

January 14, 2010

ROCKVILLE, Md. — The commute along Interstate 270 is always grueling, but a massive gasoline fire on Montrose Road Thursday morning made it worse than normal.

So how bad has the commute been?

“On a scale of one to 10 for Montgomery County, I’m going to give it a nine,” says WTOP Traffic Reporter Lisa Baden.

The huge fire on Montrose Road occurred at 4:45 a.m. when a tanker carrying 9,000 gallons of gasoline overturned. See the Tanker’s Damage The fire — near an I-270 overpass — shut down Montrose Road and I-270. The closures had a ripple effect through Montgomery County and along the Capital Beltway.

It took almost two hours for the interstate to reopen. It reopened at 6:37 a.m., then authorities periodically shut it down.

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Westbound Montrose Road remains closed between Seven Locks Road and Tower Oaks Boulevard.

Eastbound Montrose Road is open at Seven Locks Road, so you commuters can access I-270.

“Most importantly, the driver was not injured,” says Montgomery County Assistant Chief Scott Graham tells WTOP.

The driver was out of the vehicle by the time firefighters arrived.

“We don’t know the cause,” Graham says. “We do know that it was single vehicle. We do know that he was traveling off of 270 to go westbound Montrose Road. What caused it to overturn is still under investigation.”

WTOP’s Kristi King, who is on the scene, reports the remaining gasoline that’s on the tanker needs to removed before the tanker can be moved.

The Maryland Department of the Environment is on scene to determine whether there was any runoff of fuel from the accident. Workers will contain any that might occur when any potential remaining gasoline is offloaded.