Tuesday's crash of a fuel tanker and the resulting fire has prompted emergency repairs to a busy intersection in St. Petersburg.
The crash happened early Tuesday when a fuel tanker and a utility truck collided on westbound Gandy Boulevard at Fourth Street N near Roosevelt Boulevard.
The tanker, which was carrying 10,000 gallons of fuel, erupted in flames, sending the driver, Jason Burgos of Spring Hill, to Tampa General Hospital with burns over 60 percent of his body.
Burgos was still in critical condition Wednesday morning, a hospital spokesman said. The utility truck driver suffered less serious injuries and was taken to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg.
The roadway where the intense fire burned was damaged.
Florida Department of Transportation officials spent Tuesday afternoon and evening digging four feet into the ground to remove the tainted, gas-soaked dirt. FDOT officials said 40 truck loads of contaminated soil had been removed by Wednesday afternoon, with more soil yet to be removed.
Clean dirt will then be brought in to replace the contaminated soil.
FDOT said core samples of the roadway showed gas seeped about three to four feet deep into the surface, creating environmental concerns. One lane of westbound Gandy Boulevard will remain closed today as the cleanup continues.
By mid-morning Wednesday, westbound Gandy traffic was thick, backing up almost to the bridge.
The fiery crash took place in the middle of a construction zone, which may delay a major Gandy Boulevard overpass construction project in the area.
"This isn’t the contractors fault obviously, but this will probably delay the job," said FDOT's spokesperson Kris Carson. "They’re going to have to see how much of the bridge was damaged and possibly rebuild part of the bridge."