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Route 5 closed after propane tanker crashes, rolls over

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Michael Mroziak/WBFO News
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A stretch of Route 5 in Lackawanna is closed after a tanker truck hauling propane crashed into a pickup truck and overturned early this morning.

Authorities say the tanker was traveling on Route 5 near Dona Street when it crashed and rolled onto its side around 6:30 a.m. Crews from Lackawanna and Buffalo Fire Departments are at the scene.

Buffalo Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfield said, in a news briefing nearby, the tanker was carrying approximately 3,000 gallons of propane. Some of the content spilled on to the roadway while a slow leak from the truck continued after the accident.

A controlled burn of the propane remaining in the tank began late in the morning. A plume of flames shooting several yards into the air could be seen as far north as the Skyway. 

"Propane is highly volatile, very explosive. We're very concerned about it leaking and being ignited," Whitfield said. 

Several nearby businesses, including a gas station and hotel, were evacuated. It was unknown late Wednesday morning when those businesses may be allowed to reopen. 

Whitfield could not say whether the road might be reopened in time for the evening commute.

Coincidentally, the accident occurred just a couple blocks away from the scene of a massive fire that destroyed a former Bethlehem Steel building last month.