TIERRA VERDE (FOX 13) - All lanes of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge are open again after a tanker truck slammed into the bridge's barrier wall and caught fire yesterday.
FHP troopers say the truck, carrying 4,000 gallons of diesel fuel, was still on the Pinellas side of the bridge when it suffered a blown tire. The driver, Ulises Hernandez-Fernandez of Tampa, lost control and the truck hit the wall "repeatedly," troopers say, before catching fire just after 10:30 a.m. Tuesday.
The blaze sent black smoke billowing into the air that was visible for miles, and its remote location challenged firefighters. St. Pete Fire Rescue crews battled the flames from both the northbound and southbound spans of the bridge, spending hours dousing the smoldering wreckage.
Both directions of the bridge were closed initially, but the northbound lanes reopened Tuesday afternoon. Emergency crews worked overnight to open southbound lanes. Those lanes are now open.
Hernandez-Fernandez, 48, was taken to Manatee Memorial Hospital with minor injuries.