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Two people killed in vehicle explosion

Purina Drive closed between Athens Street and East Ridge Road

POSTED: February 21, 2012 1:19 p.m.
Tom Reed/The Times

Gainesville Fire Department Battalion Chief Scott Stowers looks at the remains of a car that collided with a truck and burst into flames on Purina Drive early this morning. The two occupants were killed in the wreck.

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Two people were killed early this morning in a wreck involving a tractor-trailer truck carrying dog food and a car on Purina Drive.

"There was a big explosion and (debris) has been burning for several hours," said Kevin Holbrook, spokesman for the Gainesville Police Department. "Cleanup crews are out here now."

Purina Drive is closed between Athens Street and East Ridge Road while crews work at the scene.

The wreck took place about 1 a.m. at the entrance to a warehouse across from Land O' Lakes Purina Feed LLC, 1125 Purina Drive.

Names of the victims weren't immediately available.

"It's going to be a while before we can confirm that," Holbrook said. "It's an extensive wreck scene. There's a large amount of damage."

Holbrook said damage was so extensive that it also will take investigators time to piece together what happened.

Early on, however, it appears the truck was turning right into the warehouse when a car, traveling on Purina Drive, slammed into the gas tank area of the truck and ended up wedged under it, he said.

"The vehicle and the semitruck ignited and were engulfed in flames," Holbrook said. "Speeding (by the car) may have been a factor."

The truck driver, James Allport, 36, of Malinta, Ohio, was able to escape uninjured, but the victims' bodies were burned beyond recognition, authorities said.

"It was a long night of firefighting and containing the blaze," Gainesville Fire Chief Jon Canada said.

This story will be updated as more information is available.


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