UPDATE: Westbound and eastbound I-70 at I-465 have been reopened after a tanker fire closed the area just before 2 p.m. The I-465 southbound ramp to I-70 eastbound will remain closed for one day as authorities continue their investigation.
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Authorities were called to the scene of a massive tanker fire on northbound I-465 near I-70 on the city’s east side Thursday afternoon.
According to authorities, a semi tanker hauling 4,000 gallons of jet fuel overturned on the ramp near mile-marker 43 along northbound I-465 just before 2 p.m. Thursday.
The driver of the tanker has been identified as 59-year-old Jeffrey Denman of Brownsburg. Police say good Samaritans helped the man to safety before he was taken to the hospital in critical condition.
“Without question those good Samaritans saved this driver’s life,” Indiana State Police Sgt. John Perrine told reporters at the scene of the crash.
Authorities said the driver contacted part of the guardrail on the ramp which split the tank and forced the semi to overturn, causing a massive fire. Witnesses told police they saw the driver exit the semi with his clothes on fire.
Mitch Navarre, a good Samaritan credited with helping save the man’s life, noticed Denman standing close to the semi when he was on fire. Navarre pulled him away from the semi when the first of two tanker explosions happened. According to authorities, the men made their way down the south side of the bridge ramp where another good Samaritan, Holly McNally, stopped her car and jumped in to help them.
ISP Trooper Chris Hanson was the first to arrive to the scene and help the victim, authorities said. Trooper Hanson was able to get to the victim, place him in his patrol car and cover him in clothes until medical help arrived.
Fire officials said the large amount of jet fuel poured down the sides of the embankment and created a “fire wall.” It took crews about 40 minutes to extinguish it.
INDOT announced Thursday night that the I-465 southbound ramp to I-70 eastbound would remain closed for an entire day as authorities cleared the scene and continued their investigation. Investigators believe unsafe speed contributed to the crash.
Indianapolis Public Schools also announced that some bus routes would experience delays due to the fire. For more information about the school bus delays, you can call 317-226-4000.
This is a developing story. News 8 has a crew heading to the scene to gather more information. Check back for updates.