UPDATE (12:30 p.m. March 27) Arkansas State Police have released new details about the fatal truck explosion in southern Arkansas.
The truck driver who lost his life has been identified as 63 year old El Dorado resident Randall McDougal. Troopers say that McDougal drove for Blann Trucking Company.
Troopers say that the truck’s brakes caught fire and that McDougal had exited the truck to try to put the fire out.
Arkansas transportation officials have shut down a highway indefinitely after a truck hauling ammonium nitrate exploded this morning.
The explosion happened around 7:05 a.m. on Wednesday, March 27, on Highway 278 about a mile west of Camden, Arkansas, according to a report from KSLA.
Ouachita Co: (UPDATE) Hwy. 278 blocked due to a accident involving truck carrying Ammonium Nitrate. It has exploded and a 1/2 mile area is cordoned off. Accident is west of Camden or 1.3 miles east of Hwy. 57. Monitor at https://t.co/l1xGNNTado. #artraffic #swatraffic #arnews pic.twitter.com/KBFcEu87Hh
— Arkansas DOT (@myARDOT) March 27, 2019
According to local reports caught fire on Highway 278. Officials had already started evacuating homes in a one mile radius when the truck exploded.
The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management has confirmed that one person died in the explosion. Local news station THV11 says that the person who died was the truck driver.
Other minor injuries have been reported.
Two police cruisers were destroyed in the explosion.
Union County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Sgt. Erick Meadows says that the explosion left a large crater in the middle of Highway 278. The Arkansas Department of Transportation says that the crater is approximately 15 feet deep.
Highway 278 is closed in both directions until further notice. Highway 57 and Highway 24 were also closed.
Here’s video from the Ouachita Electric Cooperative of the scene down in Camden. The Department of Emergency Management has confirmed one has died from the explosion. @KATVNews #ARNews pic.twitter.com/W8zspbj8Nj
— Nick Popham (@KATVPopham) March 27, 2019
The incident remains under investigation.