Fort Lauderdale, FL Train Hits Gas Truck, Mar 1993
Train Hits Gas Truck Killing 6
Fort Lauderdale, Fla. -- A gasoline tanker trapped in traffic at a railroad crossing was struck by an Amtrak train Wednesday and exploded in a giant fireball that set nine other cars and trucks ablaze.
The tanker driver and five others died in their vehicles.
Fifteen people waiting at the crossing were injured, and six of the 118 aboard the train from New York City were taken to a hospital for observation, officials said.
The 11-car train remained upright after the mid-afternoon crash at a crossing near Interstate 95, but the lead locomotive was blackened and the luggage and dining cars caught fire.
A witness described panic as people stuck in traffic caused by road construction scrambled for their lives after the blast.
"I just saw some people screaming all over the place," said BILLY RODRIGUEZ, 25, of Coral Springs.
A Broward County sheriff's deputy in his patrol car at the time pulled the driver from a burning vehicle behind him, said SONYA FRIEDMAN, a Fort Lauderdale police spokeswoman.
"The explosion was unbelievable," said witness TIM DAHMS. "The sky was just black."
Cars and small trucks were scorched and scattered as if they had been in a tank battle. The tanker burned for more than two hours.
Another witness, BARABARA FREEMAN, said the gasoline truck was trapped in bumper-to-bumper traffic, when warning lights came on and the crossing gate lowered.
"He couldn't back up, and he couldn't go forward. Then, the crossing gate did come down, but it came down on the cab of his truck." The truck driver desperately inched forward until the crossing gate broke, she said.
Then the train hit the back of the tanker. The train had been starting to brake and was going about 30 to 35 mph, FRIEDMAN said.
Daily Herald Chicago Illinois 1993-03-18
Note: The driver of the Amerada Hess Corp. tanker truck was BARSON DeFRANCE, 51, of Sunrise.