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A tanker truck carrying 7,500 gallons of diesel exploded in Ohio, leaving 1 dead

By Sarah Dewberry, CNN

(CNN) — A man is dead, several northeast Ohio roads are closed and diesel has poured into a river after a tanker truck lost control and exploded Saturday morning.

The driver of the truck was heading north on State Route 8 in Macedonia, about 18 miles north of Akron, the Summit County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. As he attempted to merge on Interstate 271, he lost control and went over the side of a bridge, causing the truck to explode in a burst of flames when it crashed back on State Route 8, the sheriff’s office said.

The driver was pronounced dead at the scene.

The sheriff’s office said officials from multiple departments, including a hazmat team responded to the fiery wreck at 9:15 a.m. local time.

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency spokesperson Bryant Somerville told CNN the truck was carrying 7,500 gallons of diesel when it crashed.

The sheriff’s office said diesel from the tanker got into a nearby river and leaked into Brandywine Falls, a 60-foot waterfall, briefly causing a creek to catch on fire.

“The nearby Brandywine Creek has been impacted with diesel from the crash,” Somerville said in an email Saturday. “The creek briefly caught fire initially after the accident, and Ohio EPA’s on-scene coordinator is reporting the fire is out.”

Somerville said the agency is installing containment measures in the creek to stop the diesel spread and will oversee abatement efforts.

The sheriff’s office said ramps from State Route 8 to Interstate 271 are closed in both directions.

Officials say the roads “will remain closed until the bridge can be inspected for safety,” which is ongoing.

Ohio Department of Transportation spokesperson Matt Bruning said crews at the scene are inspecting both the bridge and road. A part of the road where the tanker landed and exploded “will need to be repaved,” he said in an email to CNN.

“I don’t have a timeline on that,” Bruning said. “I also have not yet heard details about the bridge inspection. We will not reopen anything until we deem it safe to motorists.”

Authorities are investigating the cause of the crash.

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