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Tanker, Pickup Explodes, Kills One on Raleigh Loop

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RALEIGH — The driver of a gasoline tanker truck carrying thousands of pounds of gasoline was killed when the vehicle collided with a stolen, abandoned pickup truck along a stretch of Interstate 440 in north Raleigh, police said.

The accident happened about 11:30 p.m. Friday when police believe the tanker struck a 1967 pickup abandoned on the side of the road of the outer loop of the Raleigh Beltline between the Capital Boulevard and Wake Forest Road exits. The vehicle jutted into the roadway approximately 2 feet.

The accident killed 51-year-old William "Buddy" McLamb of Clayton, who worked for Crown gasoline.

McLamb was married and the father of three daughters. He had been a driver for Crown since June.

People arriving at the scene soon after the accident say they had heard an explosion and were met by flames shooting 20 feet into the air. Police were still piecing together the details today.

``We have not been able to locate witnesses so we cannot come up with a definitive sequence of events,'' Raleigh Police Maj. Otis Hinton said. ``... All we know there was a tremendous explosion and a tremendous fire.''

The accident shut down traffic on the Raleigh Beltline around the accident near the accident scene. The inner loop was re-opened overnight and the outer loop was re-opened shortly after dawn.

Dozens of firefighters responding to the scene let the fire burn itself out, which took about four hours. Instead, they concentrated on small grass fires that occurred nearby. The concrete median that separates the inner and outer loops also caught fire. The fire also spread to a drainage pipe under the highway.

On Saturday morning, Carolina Pilot and Light crews repaired a damaged utility pole that caused power outages in North Raleigh.

Crews also determined the gasoline spill had little environmental impact.

"We're basically trying to see if we have any environmental impact, if any of the petroleum product that was carried on the tanker had gotten into any tributaries or in Crabtree Creek," said Phil Woodlief of the Raleigh Fire Department.

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