(Daily360.com) – An 18-wheel truck struck a low bridge in upstate New York and the subsequent explosion lit up the night sky for miles around. Local residents said they thought a meteor hit or worse when the sky above their heads suddenly illuminated. The 18-wheeler being driven by Sylvester Basil Jr., was carrying natural and compressed gas that ignited on impact.
Basil suffered third degree burns to his hands and face but miraculously walked away from the inferno-like scene. Basil never lost consciousness and told authorities he did not see the numerous warning signs cautioning about the low bridge that lay ahead. Basil was then airlifted to Westchester Medical Center to tend to his injuries and burns. The incident, captured by surrounding video cameras showed flames reaching as high as 200 feet.
The bridge has been hit several times already this year and local authorities say they need to figure out how to deal with what is now a semi-regular occurrence. This accident resulted in local residents losing power and others being evacuated.
Despite the damage and severity of the accident there was a lucky break for the community. As the video shows, when Basil strikes the bridge, a train is crossing it at the same moment. The train was amazingly unaffected and was able to cross the bridge safely. Police Chief Stephen Janik, said he would have expected the train to be overwhelmed and engulfed by the massive flames and “amount of fire” at the scene.
Local residents and first responders quickly arrived on scene and tried to help the injured driver and contain the raging inferno. The bridge and surrounding area will be closed for an “undermined amount of time” while the area is cleaned and made safe. The investigation will continue but so far investigators say there is a low risk of any long-term environmental impact because the truck was only carrying gas and not liquid fuel.
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