A FedEx Ground truck crashed and burst into a giant fireball Tuesday afternoon on I-270 north of St. Louis. Though the tractor-trailer was nearly obliterated, neither the truck's driver, a passenger or anyone else was injured.
The accident's spectacular nature raised concern by local media who fed national cable TV news channels live pictures and initially speculated whether a bomb packed into the cargo might have caused the explosion. But Gov. Bob Holden later assured the fire was the result of a traffic accident and not terrorism.
According to KOLR-TV in St. Louis, the truck touched a wall along the highway. The driver allegedly tried to correct the vehicle and pull over to the side, and hit a light pole, which caused the eastbound truck's fuel tank to ignite about 12:30 p.m. Shortly after the accident, the driver said the accident was caused when a vehicle cut him off, said an article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. According to police, however, driver fatigue was a suspected factor.
Debris and packages littered a long stretch of the highway near the crash scene. Westbound traffic resumed by mid-afternoon and eastbound lanes remained closed Tuesday night.
The truck was pulling two trailers carrying general packages, with no hazardous material. The fire burned quickly because of the paper materials on board.