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Investigators Look For Answers In Granville Tanker Crash, Explosion

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OXFORD, N.C. — The driver of a tanker truck died when the tanker crashed and exploded near the Revlon plant outside Oxford Monday.

The explosion happened on Industrial Drive, off of U.S. 158, just after 11 a.m. Authorities said the tanker containing gasoline hit a utility pole and crashed. The accident occurred near a Revlon plant.

Wanda Gill said she was sitting in her office Monday morning when something caught her attention.

"I heard the crash when the truck fell over. He was going too fast and couldn't make the curb," she said. "My first thought was my building is going to go up any minute. I mean the explosion was enormous, just instantly enormous," she said.

"The other places said they felt the ground shake when it [the tanker] exploded," witness Theodore Gregory said.

The Revlon plant was shut down for several hours as a result of the accident. Inbound traffic to Oxford was being rerouted off Industrial Drive and around the plant.

The truck driver was identified as David Lanny Nelson of Henderson. He worked for Rose Oil for about 30 years.

The cause of the crash is being investigated by the Highway Patrol. They have not ruled out speed as a possible factor in the crash. Investigators said it was possible that a medical condition may have caused Nelson to lose control.

The explosion and fire took its toll on emergency crews. Several workers had to be treated for heat exhaustion.

Industrial Drive was shut down so an environmental cleanup crew could assess the damage.

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