LAKE ELSINORE, Calif. (KABC) -- All lanes on the southbound 15 Freeway in Lake Elsinore reopened Wednesday morning about 15 hours after a tanker truck hauling 8,700 gallons of fuel erupted in flames, spewing thick black smoke and backing up traffic for miles.
The blaze was reported north of Nichols Road shortly after 1 p.m. Tuesday. It was sparked when a tire blew on the tanker truck.
The California Highway Patrol opened the fast lane on the southbound 15 Freeway at 4:35 p.m. Tuesday, and the remaining three lanes were cleared for travel shortly before 5:30 a.m. Wednesday.
The driver was not injured. He parked the truck on the right shoulder of the freeway, and then fled before his cab was overcome by flames, CHP said.
A hazardous materials crew was sent to clean up the site, and Caltrans officials replaced more than a dozen 15-foot pavement slabs that were heavily damaged during the fire.