Environmental cleanup underway after Giddings oil tanker fire

A fiery crash near Giddings on Sunday hurt two people and also caused some environmental damage. The crash involved a truck that was hauling crude oil, and what didn't burn, spilled along the roadway.

The black smoke and flames seen in a video from a crash Sunday morning came from a scene about six miles east of Giddings, near the community of Ledbetter. 

Video was recorded by Kyler Giles as he approached the intersection of Highway 290 and FM 180. The smoke could be seen for miles. Video was also recorded by Gaby Garza as it towered over her house.

"Oh, my God, I thought he was going to come over here. Like, I thought it was just going to escalate and, like, go through the grass and come over here," said Garza. 

MORE: 2 critically injured in tanker fire near Giddings

Garza and a neighbor thought about evacuating, but they couldn’t get out. Traffic on Hwy 290 was at a standstill and was backed up into Giddings.

"Thank God it had rained throughout the week. So, it wasn't so dry to where it just kept on going, and they were able to stop it," said Garza.

The crash involved a big rig hauling barrels of crude oil and an SUV. The wall of fire, seen by those who drove by, was fueled by oil that spilled into the highway median.

"I just heard two loud pops, and I lifted my head up, looked up at the sky, there were clouds of smoke everywhere," said Devon Jarmon.

When the crash happened, Jarmon was outside mowing his yard.

"I think GPD handled it pretty well with getting down here. Quick response with the fire and getting the traffic diverted and moved to separate places," said Jarmon. 

State troopers, as of midday on Monday, June 24, were still working on the accident report. The preliminary investigation, according to DPS, indicated the oil truck was turning onto Eastbound Hwy 290 when the SUV struck the truck. A man and a woman, who were in the SUV, were taken to a hospital in Austin.

"It's really not a surprise. There's usually 2 or 3 wrecks, you know, every month," said Carson Harville.

The smoke cloud was so dark, Harville initially thought it was from a house fire. Then, he realized it was from the highway, which typically is very busy. Harville noted there has been talk of getting a bypass built.

"It would help the locals here. Just trying to get in and out of town on weekdays," said Harville.

On Monday, a special work team was on site soaking up and scooping out the oil spill. FOX 7 was told the crew was hired by the trucking firm involved in the crash. After the environmental cleanup is done, TxDOT will do an assessment on the roadway and make any repairs that are needed.