Massive cleanup effort underway after Atwater tanker explosion

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Dust, debris, and charred remains are what's left after a massive gas tanker explosion rocks the city of Atwater. (KFSN)

Dust, debris, and charred remains are what's left after a massive gas tanker explosion rocks the city of Atwater. The truck exploded after it came off the Appegate Road ramp, quickly bursting into flames and spreading.

Mayor Jim Price returned to the area-- a multi crew clean-up is underway. He said fuel needs to be cleaned from the drain pipes to prevent another explosion, and crews need to look under the asphalt for more damage.
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Video courtesy of Guy Vesco



"There's a lot of moving parts to all of this, and we have to be sure that everything is going to be good so we can allow the public back."

In surveillance video from the 7/11 across from McDonalds you can see how quickly flames spread as people ran to safety.

Price said the repairs could cost millions, however, Public Works said the truck company brought in cleaning crews, and is footing a big portion of the bill.

"It's all on him, he's doing everything. The city is just overseeing to make sure the clean-up goes as planned," said Brian Shaw, Atwater Public Works.

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Video courtesy of Metta Xiong


The California Highway Patrol said the truck company is Williams Tank Lines out of Stockton. Officers said commercial units from Fresno are stopping by terminals to make sure the truck did not have problems prior to the incident.

"We're also going to check on the driver, speaking to his family, check his medical records to rule a lot of things out or rule them in," said Sgt. Luis Lara, CHP.

Power has been restored to most of the street, but businesses nearby say they sustained smoke damage and may not be able to open anytime soon.

"It's always unfortunate for me and my team member, and my neighbors-- it's just something that happens and you gotta live with it," said Givo Ishaya, TOGOS owner.

Some of the barricades blocking cars have been moved so people can access some of those shops, however, they still expect to remain closed because of smoke damage and enviromental concerns..

As far as this ramp entrance and exit, we were told that could stay closed as long as a month or so.

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merced countyAtwater
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