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Tanker explodes, filling Texas sky with smoke. ‘Could feel the heat through the glass’

An ambulance (Minnesota National Guard photo by Sgt. Mahsima Alkamooneh)

An SUV driver crashed into a tanker truck, causing an explosion that filled the sky with pillars of black smoke, according to Texas authorities and news reports.

The crash happened around 10:50 a.m. Sunday, June 23, on U.S. Highway 290 East in Lee County near Ledbetter, about a 65-mile drive southeast from Austin, KPRC reported.

Authorities said a truck carrying crude oil barrels was struck by an SUV that had a male driver and female passenger, leading to the fiery scene, according to KBTX.

Passing motorists, including Brock Lacy, shared photos of the dramatic aftermath.

Hottest temp I’ve ever felt,” Lacy said in a Facebook post. “Was worried about melting tires.”

David Els, who also passed the crash, told KXAN he initially thought the fire was in the nearby bushes. When he got closer, he saw the white SUV engulfed in flames next to the semi.

“We went through everything and rolled up all the windows, and you could still feel the heat through the glass and the doors,” Els told KXAN.

Two people were critically injured and taken to an Austin hospital, according to Lee County EMS officials, who said at least eight other agencies responded to the scene.

“Everyone came together quickly when this huge incident occurred,” Lee County EMS said in a Facebook post.

“A job well done by all and lives definitely saved,” they added.

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