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1 person killed as I-70 remains closed west of Denver after crash, tanker fire

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — One person was killed and both directions of I-70 remain closed Thursday afternoon near Morrison following a crash and tanker fire.

The fatality was confirmed by the Colorado State Patrol. The driver of the tanker was taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries, a law enforcement source confirmed to Denver7.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said first responders arrived on scene to find the tanker truck fully engulfed in flames.

A large plume of smoke could be seen for miles but as of around 10:30 a.m., firefighters were able to extinguish the majority of the fire.

The I-70 closure is impacting a stretch of the interstate between Morrison and Genesse from Exit 254 to Mile Point 259. Officials warn the interstate closure will likely impact the evening commute.

i70 crash morrison.jpg


A spokesperson with the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) said the crash happened on the westbound side of I-70 and that the semi truck appeared to be pulled off onto the side of the interstate.

The crash was reported at around 9:28 a.m.

Jeffco on social media added motorists should avoid the area as the investigation continues and crews put out hot spots. More than 20 emergency apparatuses are around the scene.

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) said both directions of the interstate were closed and up to a 40 minute delay should be expected in the area.

Denver7 Traffic Expert Jayson Luber said the eastbound lanes of I-70 are shut down back to Lookout Mountain exit. The I-70 westbound lanes are shut down heading up the hill at the Morrison Exit.

Firey crash I-70 May 16, 2024.jpg

Kyle Vaughn

Luber added Highway 40 is also impacted near the crash site.

“Traffic that was trapped behind the eastbound I-70 closure point has been turned around and is going back up to the Lookout Mountain Exit and then onto Highway 40,” said Luber.

Jeffco said multiple fire departments are on the scene and have put down several small fires. A hazmat team is also responding to the crash area, according to Jeffco.

I-70 closed near Morrison due to tanker fire

For motorists on the westbound I-70 side, Luber said traffic is being diverted at the exit near the dinosaur Park-n-Ride at exit 259.

“The best thing to do, if you have to go up I-70 — you can go on either Hwy 285 through Evergreen and you can come back on Evergreen Parkway back to I-70,” said Luber. “You could also take Hwy 6 up Clear Creek Canyon.”

i-70 closed morrison tanker fire.png


Video from AirTracker 7 showed the damaged tanker and burned vehicle just behind the semi-truck.

“We have some damage to I-70, so they’re going to have to check the integrity of the roadway surface,” added Luber. “Typically in these kind of fire situations, the fire burns very hot and it can damage road surfaces.”

The investigation into the crash is expected to continue throughout the day. Luber said both eastbound and westbound lanes could be closed until late Thursday evening.

“This is going to be a devastating investigation that is going to take some time unfortunately. I’ve seen a lot of crashes in my time and this is one of the worst ones,” said Luber.

May 16 2024 I-70 fiery crash near Morrison

@belkoracin on X (formerly Twitter)

AirTracker 7 is flying over the scene. Click the video player below to watch the feed.

Chopper view of I-70 crash near Morrison

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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