Massive fire in Atwater may cause long term problems for city

EMBED </>More Videos

After more than 8,000 gallons of fuel burned off, firefighters got the hot spots cooled off, and turned their attention to possible long term troubles. (KFSN)

Fire burned about 100 yards worth of road off the Highway 99, creating enough heat to scorch a McDonald's witnesses said was never even touched by the flames. For a while, California Highway Patrol officers worried about cars on the highway itself.

"We had units run breaks to shut down traffic. We didn't know if it was going to explode," said Eric Zuniga, CHP.

Hours later, officers reopened the Highway and traffic moved on as usual, with only the closed Applegate exit as a mark of a deadly morning. Atwater Mayor Jim Price said he has never seen an accident here before, but he recognizes the quick cloverleaf off the freeway can be tricky.

"If you're not familiar with that particular exit, it'll creep up on you real fast."

After more than 8,000 gallons of fuel burned off, firefighters got the hot spots cooled off, and turned their attention to possible long term troubles. The asphalt is charred and may need to be replaced before the Highway exit reopens and Some of that gasoline spilled into drainage ditches.

From there, the Mayor said it may go to nearby canals or the sewage system. So fire danger still exists there, and businesses won't be able to get back to normal.

"The immediate need is for hazardous materials to get remediate out of the sewer line and everything," said Price.

Down on the road you can see how badly damaged the asphalt is and there is a gasoline residue as well.

CHP officers said the exit will be closed for at least two days, but if the cleanup is complicated, days could turn into weeks.

Related Topics:
newsfireexplosionfresno countyaccidentAtwater
(Copyright ©2017 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

Load Comments
FRESNO COUNTY
More fresno county

NEWS
More News

Top Stories
Show More