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ANDERSON COUNTY, SC – On Tuesday, February 7, 2012 a semi tanker truck crashed into a power pole and then exploded and burst into flames in Anderson County, SC.

Massive blaze of a tanker truck that crashed and burned in Anderson County, SC on February 7, 2012. The truck driver was injured in the accident.

Anderson County is located in the northwestern part of South Carolina. The accident occurred in an unincorporated part of the county on Shady Grove Rd about 18 miles east of Anderson and about 7 miles southeast of Belton.


The accident happened around 10:23 a.m. on Shady Grove Rd. about .2 of a mile north of Holiday Dam Rd. A semi tanker truck was traveling southbound on Shady Grove Rd. and crashed into a power pole.

Map showing location of massive tanker truck fire in Anderson County, SC on Shady Grove Rd about .2 of a mile north of Holiday Dam Rd.

A power line came down and an electrical spark ignited the trailer which was carrying 9,000 gallons of gasoline. The tractor trailer burst into flames, creating an inferno and sending a column of black smoke into the sky which could be seen for miles.

An article in the News website reported on the story. After the fire had been burning for about 4-5 minutes, David Black, who was driving his tractor nearby decided he needed to help the trucker:

The fire was growing quickly. David Black knew he didn’t have much time. Black says, “I heard the explosion and immediately saw it. By the time I heard the explosion, it was burning.”

Black hopped off his tractor and went to help a tanker truck driver. He says, “I would say the truck had been burning 4-5 minutes. I was going to go ahead and try to get him out, everybody was hollering at me, and about that time he fell out..and i grabbed him and brought him back down to the side of the road.”

The massive blaze eventually consumed the 18 wheeler. The big rig driver, Jose Emilio Calderon, 46 years old from Easley, SC was injured in the accident and had to be taken to the hospital. No other details are available as to his condition or the extent of his injuries.

Officials say that the trucker somehow lost control of the vehicle, then ran into a power pole which downed a power line onto the tanker. At some point, the truck overturned and caught fire.

At first, firefighters could not determine what was burning because the placard that identifies the material had already burned up by the time they got there. Until they found out from the driver that it was gasoline, it was impossible to tell what was in the tanker.

Had they not found out that it was gasoline in the tanker, then firefighters are trained in situations like this to treat it as a worst case scenario, which would be to let the fire burn out by itself.

A foam truck was brought in and a large amount of foam suppression was put on the blaze, which was extinguished within about 15 minutes. A HazMat team was brought in from Anderson County to monitor the situation. Fortunately there were no evacuations ordered as a result of the hazardous materials.

Witnesses in the area reported hearing an explosion and then they saw the fire.

According to news reports, the truck driver will be charged for driving too fast for conditions.

The Kenworth truck belonged to O’Dell Oil Company, near Belton, SC.

Gordon Elias & Seely, LLP recommend that if you know anyone who has been injured or killed as the result of a commercial truck accident involving a semi truck, 18 wheeler, big rig, tractor trailer or bus, tell them to immediately contact a qualified truck accident lawyer for advice. Gordon, Elias & Seely LLP are licensed in Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana and Washington, DC and have informal relationships with other truck accident lawyers. Visit our South Carolina truck accident lawyer page or call 800.773.6770.

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