DENVER — One person was killed Thursday after a crash in the western part of the Denver metro area involving a tanker truck that burst into flames and spilled burning fuel.

Colorado State Patrol Golden said that the tanker had been pulled over to the shoulder in the westbound lanes of Interstate 70, near the Morrison Road exit, when another vehicle crashed into the back of it shortly before 9:30 a.m.

In addition to the person who died in the crash, the truck driver was taken to the hospital for medical treatment. Neither person has been identified at this time.

The tanker was fully engulfed in fire when first responders arrived on the scene, according to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, and fuel spilled through a culvert across the eastbound lanes of I-70, shutting down interstate traffic in both directions for at least seven hours and sending up a plume of what Arvada Fire spokesman Brady Johnson called “toxic, black thick smoke.”

“Our hearts go out to the family of the person who died in this crash, and we hope that the truck driver is able to recover quickly,” said Kevin Hannon, partner at Singleton Schreiber. “If you are affected by a crash like this in any way, you might benefit from contacting a personal injury attorney. An attorney can help get you the compensation you deserve when unexpected incidents throw financial wrenches, like medical bills or lost wages, into your life.”

Interstate 70 is one of the most common sites in the country for fatal crashes involving vehicles transporting dangerous materials.

An analysis of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data on fatal crashes involving vehicles transporting hazardous materials found that from 2012 through 2021, only three highways in the United States saw more such crashes than Interstate 70, which had 20.

Flammable liquids, including combustible fuels, were the hazardous material being transported in more than half of the fatal crashes in question, and some of the material being transported leaks out into the outside environment about 30% of the time.

The Denver area had another incident in which spilled tanker fuel caught fire in May 2018, when a tanker crashed into a median on Interstate 25 in Greenwood Village after blowing a tire. Local news outlets reported that the fire burned so hot that the top layers of the road melted.

If you or a loved one are involved in an accident involving a truck, contact Singleton Schreiber by email at