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I-95 reopens after tanker crash kills 4

Flames spread along Interstate 95 after the crash Tuesday south of Baltimore, Maryland.
Flames spread along Interstate 95 after the crash Tuesday south of Baltimore, Maryland.

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A tanker truck plunges off an overpass, killing motorists and closing Interstate 95. Affiliate WJZ reports.
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Baltimore (Maryland)

(CNN) -- Interstate 95 was fully open Wednesday south of Baltimore, Maryland, as investigators sought clues in the crash of a tanker truck that fell onto the expressway from an overpass the day before, killing four people.

At one point, Maryland Transportation Authority officers said five people had died, but they later revised the number of fatalities to four -- the driver of the tanker and three others. Authorities attributed the mistake to confusion at the scene.

The explosion at about 3 p.m. ET Tuesday ignited a blaze that started a brush fire in a nearby field and forced the temporary shutdown of one of the East Coast's main highways, police and fire officials said.

The falling tanker hit at least two tractor-trailers and two passenger vehicles, including a pickup, when it fell from the Interstate 895 overpass above I-95, said Gary McLhinney, police chief of the Maryland Transportation Authority.

The victims have not been identified, said Authority Police Cpl. Greg Prioleau.

Investigators are analyzing debris from the scene to determine the cause of the crash, Prioleau said.

They also are interviewing witnesses, including a truck driver who jumped from his vehicle shortly before the crash, according to Maryland Transportation Secretary Robert Flanagan.

The National Transportation Safety Board has sent investigators to the scene.

On Tuesday night, engineers inspected the overpass and determined it was safe before reopening I-95 with patches and barrels in lieu of guard rail that was broken, Flanagan said. Permanent repairs will be done at a later date, he said.

Traffic began moving on the southbound lanes of I-95 on Tuesday evening, and the northbound ones were opened about 3:30 a.m. Wednesday, Flanagan said.

It's unclear what kind of liquid the tanker truck was carrying, but fire officials said it was believed to be petroleum-based, judging from the flames and thick, black smoke.

Fire trucks from nearby Baltimore-Washington International Airport used fire-suppression foam to put out the flames.


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