(CAMDEN) A truck driver hauling a load of fertilizer chemicals was killed Wednesday morning, March 27th, near Camden when the truck’s wheels caught fire and ignited the load, setting off an explosion that was heard for miles and led to the evacuation of homes within a 1-mile radius of the blast, authorities said.
The explosion occurred on U.S. 278, about 10 miles west of Camden and about a mile and a half from Arkansas 57.
The truck that Randall McDougal, 63, of Calion was driving was hauling ammonium nitrate, a highly combustible chemical compound, from El Dorado to Texarkana when he called 911 at 6:38 a.m. to report a tire fire, according to Jason Dickenson, chief deputy with the Ouachita County sheriff’s office.
Just after 7 a.m., the tractor-trailer rig exploded, killing McDougal and injuring three first-responders, Dickenson said.
Officials have not determined what caused the truck’s tires to catch fire, said Melody Daniel, a spokesman for the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management.
The agency said McDougal was hauling the load for Blann Tractor Co., which is headquartered in Hampton, Calhoun County.