A crash involving a fuel tanker resulted in a large explosion early Tuesday morning in St. Petersburg.
The crash happened just after 12:30 a.m. when a utility truck from Preferred Materials Inc. and a fuel tanker collided on westbound Gandy Boulevard at Fourth Street N near Roosevelt Boulevard.
Some of the 10,000 gallons of fuel spilled and ignited, causing a huge blaze. Firefighters responded from Pinellas Park, Largo, Seminole, St. Petersburg and the St. Petersburg-Cleawater International Airport, which provided a truck to spray foam on the fire.
The tanker driver, Jason Burgos of Spring Hill, was flown to Tampa General Hospital with second- and third-degree burns over 60 percent of his body.
His injuries are considered life-threatening, according to authorities.
The driver of the utility truck, Jerry N. Freeman, suffered fractures and lacerations and was taken to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg.
"It was pretty catastrophic," said Lt. Steven Lawrence, fire marshal with St. Pete Fire and Rescue, adding that 17 units responded to handle fires that spread over an area of about 200 to 300 yards. "Once initial units were called to the scene, (even more) units had to be called."
Officials said traffic will be rerouted around the crash scene as the investigation and cleanup continues.
All westbound lanes on Gandy Blvd. are closed at 4th Street due to emergency road work. Westbound traffic is being detoured onto Roosevelt Blvd.
According to St. Petersburg police, there is conflicting information on the cause of the crash. Authorities are asking anyone who may have witnessed the crash to contact them at (727) 893-7780.