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Tractor-trailer slams into NY bridge, sparking massive fire as train passes unscathed overhead

An 18-wheel tractor-trailer plowed into a rail-road bridge in upstate New York on Thursday sparking a massive explosion with flames rising to 200 feet into the night sky, dramatic footage of which was captured by an eyewitness. 

The tractor-trailer was carrying some type of compressed natural gas or propane, and it hit the Maple Avenue bridge in Glenville just before 6:30 p.m., igniting a massive fireball, according to NBC affiliate WNYT. Glenville is located to the northwest of the state’s capital, Albany.

Incredible video shows the fire raging as onlookers look on, while in other footage a train can be seen passing over the tracks. Remarkably, it did not get damaged or catch fire. 


The collision and subsequent explosion knocked power out for most residents and businesses on the east side of town, police said. Nearby homes were also evacuated, and Glenville Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle declared a state of emergency, according to local outlet WTEN.

The tractor-trailer driver, Sylvester Basil, 60, of Texas, was traveling northbound when he failed to recognize height warning signs and struck the bridge, officials said. 

Basil suffered severe burns to his hands and face before being taken to Westchester Burn Unit, according to Koetzle. He was conscious and walked himself to the ambulance, police said.

He was making a delivery from Pennsylvania to a location about an hour north of the crash site, WNYT reported.

The bridge that Basil hit was not the nearby Glenridge Road bridge, which is notorious for being hit.

A map pinpointing Glenville in upstate New York


“It was a significant explosion,” Koetzle said.  “It’s by far the worst bridge hit — by far.”

Koetzle said he did not believe there was any damage to the surrounding area, and there is no environmental impact, WNYT reported. The fire was extinguished later that night, officials said. 

The freight train was traveling over the tracks at the time of the incident but did not sustain any known damage or stop, Glenville police Chief Stephen Janik said, according to the Daily Gazette. 

“I would assume, with the . . . amount of fire that was here, that the train was probably engulfed,” Janik said.

Governor Kathy Hochul provides an update on the search for Charlotte Sena

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul posted on X that she was aware of the incident and that the Department of Environmental Conservation and the state fire department were among the agencies to respond. Volunteer fire agencies, including crews from East Glenville, Alplaus and Thomas Corners, also arrived on the scene. 

Meanwhile, Thomas Corners Chief Dan Vlainich, a local fire chief, was involved in a collision on his way to the scene.

Vlainich was traveling northbound on Maple Avenue with lights and siren activated when a car in front of him traveling in the same direction attempted to make a left turn into a driveway as the fire chief was attempting the pass. He then crashed into the vehicle, according to the Daily Gazette.  

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