A tanker fire shut down the western spur of the New Jersey Turnpike heading north Wednesday afternoon.

Shortly before 5 p.m., the fire was put out with the assistance of Newark Airport foam trucks, but Sgt. 1st Class Gregory Williams said he expected the northbound lanes to remain closed at least through rush hour. Traffic was being detoured to Exit 15E.


Sgt. Jeff Flynn said a CRV and a tanker collided on the northbound side near exit 16W, causing the tanker to roll over into the right lane and catch fire.

The CRV driver sustained minor injuries, but the tanker driver was unaccounted for, Flynn said. Williams said shortly afterward the State Police's fatal accident unit had responded to the scene, but he said he had no information on confirmed fatalities to share.

Other vehicles may have been involved, but the incident remains under investigation, Flynn said.

Large black plumes of smoke could be seen for miles. Traffic on eastbound Route 280 approaching the western spur was at a near standstill. There was heavy rubbernecking on the southbound side of the Turnpike as well.

Other video and images of the fire have been shared over social media:

— Dan Alexander contributed to this report.

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