Hwy 30 reopened after deadly semi-truck and train collision - KPTV - FOX 12

Hwy 30 reopened after deadly semi-truck and train collision

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(Courtesy: Amy Brown) (Courtesy: Amy Brown)
Courtesy:Melissa Bartoszewski Courtesy:Melissa Bartoszewski

The Oregon Department of Transportation has reopened all lanes of Highway 30 near the St. Johns Bridge after a fiery crash between a semi-truck and a train that killed one person forced crews to close the road around 9 a.m. Sunday morning.  

It was not the typical peaceful riverscape of the Willamette Richard Marcotte is used to seeing outside his Portland home.

"I looked through my window and saw big smoke coming from the trains," he said. 

Instead, Marcotte's alarm clock Sunday morning was a massive explosion. 

"I heard some sound like big heavy fireworks or like a train crashing together ... that woke me up," he said. 

Just across the river, a semi-truck carrying flammable fuel crashed into a train, resulting in a violent and fiery explosion that claimed the life of the truck driver.

Portland Fire & Rescue officials said crews had the fire under control just after 10:30 a.m. Six rail cars carrying hot asphalt were involved in the fire, but the asphalt did not leak or catch fire. A total of eight rail cars were damaged. 

One driver captured cellphone video of the scene showing flames and thick black smoke, a view that many commuters and runners in the annual Holiday Half Marathon witnessed just moments after the accident.

"It was causing breathing difficulties for a lot of our participants and we needed to either get them off the course or turn them around and send them back the other way," said Sean Rivers, race director for the Holiday Half & 5K. 

Many of the runners were sent back on shuttle buses, unable to finish the race. Fire officials urged people in the area to remain indoors and out of the smoke as a precaution.

Aside from the marathon interruption, others are concerned about the repercussions of this chemical explosion in their riverside neighborhood.

"There's going to be a lot of pollution and it's probably going to end up in the river," said a neighbor. 

The name of the truck driver has not been released. 

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