An early morning wreck on southbound I-95 caused a fiery explosion that left one man dead and the highway closed in both directions for several hours Thursday.
A tractor-trailer hauling cars was traveling south of Richmond Hill when it was struck from behind by a fuel tanker at 3:40 a.m., according to Georgia State Patrol.
“The fuel truck rear-ended a car carrier and then it exploded,” Lt. Paul Cosper, a spokesman for the Georgia State Patrol, told the Associated Press.
“The fire was so hot that some of the pavement melted.”
The driver of the fuel tanker, 28-year-old David Allen McGrath of Brunswick, died at the scene. Cosper said no one else was seriously injured, including the driver of the tractor-trailer, 39-year-old Eric Flores of Brandon, Fla.
By 9 a.m., the northbound lanes of I-95 were open, but the southbound lanes remained closed, forcing traffic to detour from Exit 87 in Richmond Hill to Exit 76 in Liberty County along Highway 17 and leaving cars backed up for hours.
One lane was reopened to southbound traffic around 11 a.m. as investigators remained at the scene trying to piece together why the fuel tanker crashed into the back of the other truck and what caused the tanker to explode.
Fire and EMS departments from Richmond Hill, Bryan County and Fort Stewart responded to the scene.