Homeowners in Frederick are concerned about their safety after a tanker crashed and exploded along a busy highway earlier this month.
State and local leaders held a meeting Wednesday to hear the concerns of those residents.
“It wasn’t good,” Frederick resident Jeff Oranczak said. “It wasn’t good at all.”
Oranczak and his wife live along U.S. Route 15 in Frederick, right near where a tanker truck crashed into a tree and exploded on March 4. Firefighters said the truck was carrying flammable liquid.
A thick black cloud of smoke and flames could be seen from far away. Flames spread to nearby homes and cars.
“Even though I was on the other side of the highway it was hotter than blazes,” Oranczak said.
The driver of the tanker truck, 58-year-old Ronald Leroy Heiston Jr., died.
Ever since the crash, people living along Route 15 have been demanding something be done to protect their homes.
“Everybody wants walls that would cut down road noise, cut down tractor noise,” Oranczak said.
Dozens of neighbors attended the public forum that was hosted by state and local leaders Wednesday night.
A Maryland Department of Transportation representative said there is a road-widening project planned for Route 15, adding a third lane to each side, which means a wall could also be built.
“What that will also do is look at the reasonability and feasibility of a noise barrier along 15 through these communities that are close to the road,” Maryland Department of Transportation District Manager Andrew Radcliffe said.
That project won’t start until the fall of 2026.
In the meantime, the representative said guardrails and privacy fences will be built and MDOT could look into lowering the speed limit along 15.
WJZ talked to homeowners on Wednesday who said that they were skeptical about these plans.
“We’ve been in our house 40 years,” Oranczak said. “They’ve talked walls for 40 years.”
MDOT said the guardrails could be installed as early as Sunday.