Blakesburg, Iowa -- A series of explosions were reported in the southern Iowa town of Blakesburg Friday morning.

The Wapello County Sheriff's office said the town was evacuated. Witnesses report hearing multiple explosions from the scene. The fire was brought under control and the evacuation order lifted around 11:40 a.m.

Officials said a fuel tanker caught fire and exploded around 8:30 a.m. The driver was off-loading fuel when the fuel ignited.

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Wapello County Chief Deputy Mark Miller said the multiple explosions likely came from the tanker truck, which was hauling gas and diesel in separate compartments.

The driver was in the cab when the initial explosion occurred and people pulled him out and got him medical care, officials said. The driver of the tanker truck was injured. His name and condition are not yet available.

A Hazmat crew noticed other compartments in tanker buckling around 10 a.m. and called for everyone to move back. Two explosions followed soon after the order to move back. Miller said he hoped they saved some lives by doing that.

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Blakesburg Assist. Fire Chief Jim Deevers said six to eight explosions took place in total.

"When we arrived on scene, Blakesburg Fire Department was applying water to a semi tanker that was carrying approximately 5,000 gallons of diesel fuel and 2,500 gallons of gasoline. It was off-loading to a fixed site that had other tanks. When we arrived on scene we evacuated within a half-mile around the area immediately started calling for support for tankers to haul water and backed our initial efforts up until we could get the tankers in line," said Ottumwa Fire Capt. Bryan Carnahan.

Carnahan said most of the fire departments called in to help were used to haul water to the scene.
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No residents were injured in the explosion. The fueling station was located next to Eddyville-Blakesburg School. Miller said they were "extremely lucky school wasn't in session."

Thick black smoke from the explosion could be seen several miles away.

KTVO-TV reported that "the tanker disintegrated from the flames and parts of the street were literally on fire. A fireball shot from the truck as it was engulfed in flames. The fire is encroaching ever closer to large fuel storage tanks. Even firefighters are being forced to evacuate the scene."

The cause of the accident remains under investigation.

Blakesburg is 80 miles south of Des Moines and the last census showed it had 374 residents.

Look for updates on this developing story on and KCCI-TV.