3-11-15 – Location – Dearborn, Detroit – Incident – Tanker Truck Overturns On Freeway

The tanker fire that closed both directions of I-94 near the Dearborn/Detroit border today appears to be under control, but it’s unknown how long the incident will continue to affect traffic.


Dearborn Firefighters reported on Twitter that there were no fatalities, but that some people with minor injuries were taken to the hospital. They reported about 12:45 p.m. that the fire was under control.

The tanker could be seen on TV news footage earlier billowing flames and black smoke high into the air, and a caller to the Free Press said it could be seen across the Detroit River in Windsor, Ontario. At least two cars could be seen in the wreckage.

“We’re grateful there were no fatalities,” said Mary Laundroche, a spokeswoman for the City of Dearborn.

Despite the dramatic scene, no evacuations had been required, Laundroche said. However, the Western Wayne and Downriver hazardous materials teams were assisting.

Michigan State Police Lt. Michael Shaw said he received the report of the fire and closure shortly before 11:30 a.m. today but had few other details. The incident is on eastbound 94 just west of Wyoming, Shaw said.

According to a tweet from the Dearborn Fire Department, the tanker driver sustained only minor injuries in the crash.

The Marathon Oil Refinery in Detroit dispatched four firefighters along with a special foam truck to help battle the blaze, according to refinery spokesman Jamal Kheiry. He did not know what material was involved in the blaze but said foam is typically used to fight hyrdocarbon fire.

The fire and closure are causing numerous highway impacts. Eastbound drivers are being advised to exit at the Southfield Freeway and head north to either I-96 to go downtown or I-696 to reach Macomb County. Westbound drivers are advised to exit at I-96 and take the Southfield Freeway south to connect back up with I-94, according to Diane Cross, a spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Transportation.

“Drivers need to avoid the area overall. This is not an area you want to drive into,” Cross said.

Doreece Nelson, 66, of Windsor, Ontario, said she saw a report of the fire on TV and walked onto her balcony, where she could see the smoke.

“That big tanker crash and the flames, we can see it in Canada,” Nelson said. “It’s really, really visible here.”