A tanker carrying thousands of gallons of fuel overturned and burst into flames on a Long Island highway just before midnight Tuesday, causing two injuries and an inferno that charred several cars, damaged four homes and a Harley-Davidson dealership, Nassau County authorities say.
The tanker was traveling east on Sunrise Highway in Bellmore when it rear-ended another vehicle at a stop light, Nassau County police say. After the collision, the tanker turned on its side and spilled fuel as it skidded down Sunrise Highway before coming to a stop at Brevoort Place.
About 7,000 of the tanker's 12,000 gallons of fuel spilled out, authorities say. The fuel fed a large fire that melted vinyl siding off of homes, caused damage to a nearby Harley-Davidson dealership and engulfed several parked cars in flames.
Crews fought the blaze for about 90 minutes before knocking the fire down. Afterward, efforts turned to cleaning spilled fuel. The company that owns the tanker also came to the scene to recover the fuel that remained in the truck.
The drivers of the tanker and the other vehicle were both taken to the hospital, where they were treated for minor injuries.
Two adults and seven children were also displaced in the fire, Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano said. In all, three homes were evacuated in the blaze.
"Seriously could have been a lot worse here," Mangano said. "Averted a major disaster."
All lanes on the highway were closed for several hours Wednesday morning.
The cause of the crash is still under investigation, Nassau County police spokesman Kenneth Lack said, but it does not appear that black ice or other environmental factors were factors.