AKRON, Ohio — On Tuesday morning, a vehicle went up in the flames after colliding with a tanker truck carrying gas on Route 8 northbound. The crash caused a massive fire, sending black smoke into the air, which could be seen for miles.
The Summit County Medical Examiner's Office confirmed one person was killed in the crash. The driver has been identified as Jared Marcum, 18, of North Canton.
The University of Akron, where Marcum was a student, released the following statement following his death:
"The entire University of Akron community is deeply saddened to learn of the tragic death of student, Jared Marcum, in a traffic accident on August 25. Our thoughts and condolences are with Jared’s family, loved ones and friends during this very difficult time. Support services are available for members of the campus community," the university said.
Route 8 was previously closed in both directions between Tallmadge and Howe avenues in Akron as police and fire responded to the scene. The southbound lanes of Route 8 reopened around noon.
ODOT released video of the fiery crash via a public records request. Watch it in the media player below:
Lt. Sierjie Lash for the Akron Fire Department said residents living within a half-mile radius of the crash were evacuated due to smoke and fumes in the air, approximately a total of 250 homes and businesses. As of 12:30 p.m., residents were allowed to return to their homes.
One northbound lane of Route 8 was reopened around 5 p.m. Crews were planning to work until 10 p.m. to repair pavement that was severely damaged from the intense fire. Motorists should expect delays, city officials said.
Akron officials said that some of the gasoline that leaked from the tanker entered the nearby storm sewer and then traversed the pipe to where it discharged at the Cuyahoga River near High Level Bridge. Firefighters used a flame retardant foam to neutralize the flames and break down the gasoline.
Officials said that the pipe doesn't connect to any residential sanitary sewer drains.
The Summit County Metro Parks has suspended fishing where the incident occurred until Aug. 29 as precautionary measure.
North High School and Harris Jackson Elementary were evacuated due to the fire. Classes weren't in session but teachers, administrators and custodial staff did report to work, according to Mark Williamson, director of communications for Akron Public Schools.
Any residents or businesses who smell gas were asked to immediately contact 911.
The Highbridge Trail Parking lot at Gorge Metro Park in Cuyahoga Falls was also closed Tuesday due to a sewer fire related to the tanker crash.
Update: This fire is related to the tanker accident on Route 8. https://t.co/qdTCpsrERQ— Summit Metro Parks (@metro_parks) August 25, 2020
“I am incredibly proud of the organized and professional response from our emergency responders today,” Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan said. “Akron police, Akron fire and our service department crews, in coordination with many of our local partners, worked diligently and efficiently to reduce the risks and impacts of this serious and tragic event on the public.”