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Northbound Lanes Open On Skyway, Southbound Still Closed

St. Pete Fire and Rescue firefighters put out a tanker fire that had closed both directions of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Department of Transportation inspectors were checking the bridge structure on the soughbound span to ensure its safety.

But the northbound side was open for travel.

Earlier Wednesday, a tanker carrying diesel blew out a tire in the southbound lanes of the bridge. The driver lost control and the tanker hit the guard rail. That's when the fire started near the top of the span, shutting the bridge down in both directions, according to Deputy Fire Marshal Lt. Steve Lawrence.

The tanker was carrying 4,000 gallons of diesel fuel, but Lawrence said there was never any danger of an explosion because the tank ruptured, allowing fumes to escape.

The driver of the tanker escaped and moved up the bridge, where he was picked up by State Troopers. He was taken to Manatee Memorial Hospital with minor injuries. 

Firefighters had problems extinguishing the flames because of a lack of water, authorities said.

Lt. Lawrence estimated that the safety inspection would take two to three hours.

Stay with WUSF 89.7 News for the latest.

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