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Fiery Tanker-Truck Blast Kills Driver, Closes Highway

(AP) - A truck driver is dead after a series of fiery explosions on a Central California highway, when his truck burst into flames as it was delivering gasoline.

California Fire division chief Mark Lawson told the Modesto Bee that the truck was carrying about 9,000 gallons of gasoline (34,000 liters) when it caught fire Tuesday morning along Highway 99 at the city of Atwater.

Witnesses describe waves of flame rolling down the highway, and explosions sending people running from roadside fast-food restaurants.

The California Highway Patrol says the body of the truck driver was found later. His name was not released.

Lawson says authorities fear spilled fuel may also make its way into drinking water. Officials have reopened that stretch of Highway 99, but several businesses remain closed as authorities check for gas leaks and other damage.

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