Clean up of a fatal tanker fire on the western spur of the New Jersey Turnpike
Clean up of a fatal tanker fire on the western spur of the New Jersey Turnpike (CBS New York)

The northbound western spur of the New Jersey Turnpike reopened just before the Thursday morning commute, 13 hours after a tanker fire claimed the life of the driver.

New Jersey State Police will have more information later this Thursday about the incident, which they said was caused by a mattress and box spring in the roadway.

Dramatic dash cam video from a driver shows the truck drifting across the highway onto the right shoulder, hitting the guard rail and overturning as it went down an embankment.

The driver of the tanker was unable to keep control of it as he slowed down, according to State Police. Michigan trucker Kevin Heuer, who took the video, told NBC 4 New York he saw 4 mattresses fall off a cargo van just before the incident.

The intense flames trapped the driver, who officials have yet to identify. The fire caused black plumes of smoke to be seen for miles around.

Foam from a Newark Airport fire crew was used to douse the flames and a crane was brought in to lift the charred remains of the truck, according to video aired by CBS New York.

A Honda CRV was also involved in the accident but the driver was not injured, according to State Police.

The northbound western spur was closed immediately with traffic diverted onto the eastern spur. Route 280 was also backed up approaching the Turnpike during the Wednesday afternoon commute.

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