WETHERSFIELD, Conn. (WTNH) — Chaos erupted on the Berlin Turnpike in Wethersfield on Monday morning after a fiery truck crash killed one and sent two people to the hospital.
Route 15 by Arrow Road was closed on both sides due to a motor vehicle crash involving two trucks and a fire that could be seen for miles.
Wethersfield police reported that two people were transported to Hartford Hospital with serious injuries following the crash, and one person was pronounced dead on the scene.
An initial investigation revealed that a Herb Holden Trucking tractor-trailer hauling an excavator was stopped on the right side shoulder of the Berlin Turnpike due to a mechanical issue. Two employees of Herb Holden were believed to have been on the side of the road working on the tractor.
A second tractor trailer, owned by Stan Koch and Sons trucking of Minnesota, was hauling a boat and traveling south on Berlin Turnpike when it struck the Herb Holden tractor trailer and continued into the driveway of 1855 Berlin Turnpike.
Both vehicles were then engulfed in flames and a Herb Holden Trucking employee was pronounced dead on scene. The other Herb Holden Trucking employee and the driver of the second tractor trailer suffered serious injuries.
Witnesses on the scene say they saw the boat was caught up in the fire, as well as the cab of the truck that rear-ended the boat trailer.
Video sent in by a viewer to our News 8 Report It! app shows heavy smoke and fire from the crash.
People living in the neighborhood say they felt an explosion after the crash.
“It shook the house; every 10 seconds we felt another one,” Shawn from Wethersfield told News 8. “It happened three or four times; it felt weird…I couldn’t see it from the kitchen and went into the bedroom and saw a big billow of smoke and said ‘okay, that’s not good.'”
Captain Mark Mahder of Wethersfield Volunteer Fire Department said, “everybody in the area saw it. There are nearby motels and several people called it in so there was a lot of help pretty quickly…We immediately called all hands and called all our surrounding towns for mutual aid and since have knocked the fire out.”
Officials say the fire has been put out, but the area is still blocked off as police investigate.
Power was cut to the area. Officials say fuel was burning under the ground in the storm water pipes.
Officials said catch basins and a brook were significantly impacted, but that it is safe for area residents to use their drinking water.
Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) personnel were called to the scene after the fire, which they said was fed by a mix of diesel fuel, hydraulic oil, gasoline, and motor oil.
Environmental Services, Inc. has been contracted to conduct remediation at the scene. DEEP is also working with the state Department of Transportation to sand and clear the roadway.
DEEP staff will continue to oversee cleanup efforts over the next few days.
Police say residents should avoid the area.