Flames Engulf Vehicles in NJ Crash; 1 Killed

Two tractor trailers and a car were caught up in a New Jersey highway collision that killed one person and sent flames shooting into the air Saturday, police said.

The fiery crash closed a section of Interstate 78 near Union at around 1 p.m., transit officials said. The highway was closed for several hours.

Police identified the person who died as James Pinaire, 24, of Chatham, New Jersey, who was the driver of a 1999 Audi sedan.

One of the tractor trailers was a tanker truck, loaded with 9,000 gallons of fuel, police said.

Balwineer Singh, 36, the driver of the tanker, was taken to University Medical Center, where he was listed in critical condition, police said.

Pinaire's sedan pulled into the path of the tanker, which then struck the sedan, investigators said. Both vehicles then skidded into the express lane of I-78 and into the path of a truck loaded with mulch. The trucks collided and caught fire.

Mario Quiroz, 53, of North Bergen, driver of the mulch truck, was treated for injuries at a nearby hospital and released.

Images from the scene showed the trucks engulfed in flames, with a thick plume of dark smoke surrounding the site. By around 3 p.m., the fire was extinguished, police said.

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