Tanker fire forces neighbors to evacuate homes

NOW: Tanker fire forces neighbors to evacuate homes

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Neighbors living parallel to U.S. 31 on Orange Road and Sundown Road were woken up bright and early this morning.

A tanker explosion, practically in their backyards, forced residents living on the roads to evacuate their homes.

Jerry Van Dusen thought that the fire was coming from his backyard until he realized it was blazing on the bypass.

“At 5 am this morning, my dogs went crazy. That was the first boom; I believe it might have been a truck tire blowing. Shortly thereafter there was a larger boom and when it went off it rattled everything,” he said.

Noah Fernandez and his family were told that their home could blow up by an officer.

“There was this bang like big knock on our door, and it was an officer,” he said as he explained what happened this morning.

“I looked out the patio door and there was a ball of flame it had to be every bit of a hundred feet or more high,” Van Dusen said.

“There was like a big flame as high as the trees,” Fernandez said. He captured a video of the blaze as his family evacuated.

The high temperature from the fire curled siding and broiled storage units at homes nearby.

“It was hot enough to melt the siding right down off the back of my shop,” Van Dusen said. “That’s an easy fix, as long as nobody got hurt.”

The Fernandez family has a propane tank in their backyard, just feet from the bypass.

Residents tell ABC57 most neighbors watched the fire burn while standing in the street in front of their houses.  

The fire from gas tanker, capable of holding 8,500 gallons of gas, was put out in over an hour by emergency crews.

There were no injuries, or major damage to homes reported.

Most homeowners did not have any damage.

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