HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Residents who live right off of Route 17 said that it sounded like an explosion.

But it was the diesel gas tank of the 18-wheeler that erupted when the truck veered off the road heading south on Route 17, jumped a guardrail and slammed into an empty office building.

1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reports

It sent a huge fireball into the air. It engulfed the truck, killed the driver and scorched the building.

“We’re fortunate that he did strike the building, ” a woman who lives across the street from where the incident took place told 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria. “If he didn’t, then he would have just plowed right into the houses. He came from the left lane over, so we don’t know if it was a heart attack or he fell asleep. But the couple of explosions were pretty significant.”

The chief of the local fire department reiterated that what residents said sounded like explosions was the diesel tank of the truck erupting and igniting. The driver couldn’t get out of the truck.

The police haven’t yet determined what caused the driver to lose control, but one eyewitness speculated that “he came fast, he tried to stop and he couldn’t control it.”

The driver of the truck was the only one killed.

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