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Gas tanker explosion on bypass

SOUTH BEND, IN.-- A blowup on the bypass disrupted Labor Day weekend morning travels.

A gas tanker, from the Winamac based company Good Oil, exploded in the early morning hours. Police say it started with the brakes. 

"The amount of flames, just the area and the height of it was huge," says South Bend Fire Captain Chuck Wawrzyniak. 

The fireball lit up the South Bend sky on the U.S. 31.

Half of the vehicle was torched away, leaving behind charred remnants. 

"The back shell ruptured which led to a massive amount of flames almost immediately and you can see the area that it covers," he adds. "That much product on the ground and it spread."

The fire was so extensive it melted half of the directional sign off of the side of the road. 

"These are incidents that don't occur very often," says Wawrzyniak.

The flames and heat bent the steel guardrails, and even damaged some of the homes nearby. 

Fire crews were forced to reevaluate how to fight the flames.

"They emptied their tanks. They carry 750 gallons. They dumped 750 gallons on it and it did not knock it down,"  says Wawryzniak. "For something, like here that involves 8,500 of product. We don't have that foam in our department collectively to address that. The airport does."

The foam was still sitting on the road, hours later. 

Approximately 8,500 hundred gallons of gasoline were making their mark. 

The northbound lanes opened up soon after lunchtime .

ABC57 learned that crews will be out for emergency repair on the South Bound lanes early Tuesday morning. 

According to INDOT, crews reopened the U.S. 31 bypass Tuesday evening between SR 2 and U.S. 20 after the roadway was stripped and paved.

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