Crews were still examining the conditions of the roadway on the Long Beach Freeway Sunday night after a tanker truck burst into flames that morning. Commuters should prepare to leave home early to avoid any traffic problems should the closures still be in effect. Gadi Schwartz reports from Commerce for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013.
A tanker truck carrying 8,000 gallons of crude oil crashed on Sunday, exploding into flames that swept through a neighborhood, left the driver with life-threatening injuries and shut a Southern California freeway.
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Neighbors caught the drama on video showing walls of flames burning in gutters and streets of a neighborhood in Commerce.
The fire prompted the evacuations of homes in the 1400 block of South Sydney Drive close to where the 9:30 a.m. crash closed the Long Beach (710) Freeway at Washington Boulevard.
The truck driver managed to escape, but was hospitalized in critical condition, officials said. A second person was taken to a hospital with less severe injuries.
Several vehicles burned, but no homes or businesses caught fire, said Los Angeles County Fire Capt. Brian Jordan.
Officials were testing the air and water in the area to determine the extent of any environmental damage.
Aerial footage showed the burned carcass of a big rig hanging off the overpass and onto train tracks below the freeway.
An oil slick spanned two lanes of the freeway.
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