LITTLETON (CBS) – A driver was trapped underneath a tanker truck carrying 10,000 gallons of home-heating oil following a crash on Interstate 495 near the Littleton-Westford line.
The crash happened on I-495 South in the area of Exit 31 just before 3 p.m.
Traffic is being diverted to Exit 32, police said.
All southbound lanes remained closed until 4:30 p.m. when one lane was reopened.
Firefighters worked for more than an hour to free the driver who was pinned underneath the home heating oil tanker that rolled onto its side.
The driver, a 41-year-old Salisbury man, was eventually freed and loaded into a waiting medical helicopter. He was taken to UMass Memorial with serious injuries. First responders said the man was alert and speaking while he was being rescued.
“I couldn’t ask for any more– the way that everybody just worked together to really work at freeing him from the wreckage of that vehicle, it was extensive extrication and they did a phenomenal job,” said Littleton Fire Chief Scott Wodzinski.
The medical helicopter carrying that man was from Maine, the closest helicopter was responding to another crash.
The driver of the oil truck, a 52-year-old Gardner man, was transported by the Littleton Fire Department also to UMass Memorial with serious but non-life threatening injuries.
Investigators said they believe the Ford Focus was changing lanes and collided with the truck. The truck driver tried to brake but both vehicles went off the road and the oil truck rolled over.
While the home-heating oil that the truck was carrying leaked during the duration of the rescue, hazmat officials said it could have been worse.
Hazmat Team Leader Bill King said, “This is not that dangerous. Home-heating oil, not that dangerous. If this was gasoline tanker, this would be a much bigger, different operation.”
Environmental and hazmat crews were able to contain the spill and prevent the oil from seeping into local waterways.
State Police initially reported the crash took place in Chelmsford, but later clarified the truck rolled over in Littleton.