EARLY — An explosion and fire destroyed the cab of a PF&E Oil Co. pumper truck that was delivering diesel fuel to tanks behind the Early Fire Department and utility building Wednesday morning.


The driver, identified by his family on social media as Chad Pachall, was flown by helicopter to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, Early City Administrator Tony Aaron said. Pachall was "alert, talking and in a lot of pain," Brownwood Fire Marshal Buddy Preston said Thursday.


The cause of the fire and explosion, which happened shortly before 10 a.m., had not been determined as of Thursday, Preston said.


A 500-gallon diesel fuel tank next to the truck ruptured and was involved in the fire, Aaron and Preston said.


"The tank did show signs of explosion," Preston said.


The truck was loaded with 1,250 gallons of fuel when it left the PF&E yard Wednesday morning, Preston said. It had not been determined how much fuel remained in the truck at the time of the fire.


"PF&E Oil Company was delivering some diesel for our heavy equipment, and evidently something happened that sparked an explosion," Aaron said. "We still don’t know what the cause of it was. Fire marshals from Early and Brownwood are both investigating that."


Aaron said the driver of the burned truck "was walking and talking and communicating when we got here. The fire department from Early obviously responded really quickly and Brownwood backed them up, and they got it under control."