Crash, explosion shuts down part of NJ Turnpike
Emergency crews responded to the scene of a massive accident and explosion that occurred between two tractor-trailers in the northbound truck lanes of the NJ Turnpike between exits 8A and 9.
UPDATE: 6:45 a.m. Thursday
As of about 6:45 a.m., the northbound right and center truck lanes of the NJ Turnpike between exits 6 and 9 have been reopened as crews work to clear the remnants of the crash. All car lanes are open.
Police say the northbound truck lanes were "fully engulfed" in flames immediately after the collision Wednesday. They had been in the process of shutting down the car lanes for construction work when the incident occurred. The crash occurred between a truck carrying medical supplies and another loaded with paper and medical supplies, according to state police.
Both drivers were able to exit the vehicles and no serious injuries were reported, according to state police.
Motorist Bill Capps was driving through the area when the crash occurred and said he could "feel the heat" from the explosion while passing by the scene.
Jonathan Goldeski of East Brunswick witnessed the explosion and said it appeared that the truck lanes were completely on fire.
Anthony Wilson, another caller to NJ 101.5, said he also witnessed the crash — and his wife and brother-in-law did even more. In a video Wilson submitted to NJ 101.5 Jacqui Wilson and Simon Byrne are seen rushing to the aid of one of the drivers whose leg is on fire:
Wilson said it appeared as though one of the trucks "flipped over a barrier between the car and truck lanes." He also said the drivers immediately jumped out as other motorists ran to his aid.
Caller Achilles, comparing the crash to the fatal dump truck crash that closed huge portions of the Turnpike between exists 12 and 13 Aug. 4., said: “Unfortunately that driver (in the Aug.4 crash) did not make it out alive. I’m very happy to hear that at least these two drivers of these tractor-trailers are at least safe.”
But the sheer size of this fire meant its impact was felt for miles around.
Jay from East Brunswick called into NJ 101.5: “I work at the Mazda dealer on (Route) 18, and all I can tell you is that our cars are covered in debris from this.”
Ann from East Brunswick told us: “My husband goes outside, I feel the house shake, he comes running inside and says, ‘There’s a truck on fire on the Turnpike.’”
This is a developing story. We will have continue to have updates as more information becomes available.
Louis Hochman and Patrick Lavery contributed to this report.