The driver was believed to have been hauling liquid propane, fire spokeswoman Katrina Butler said.
The cause of the accident was under investigation.
"We don't know if he lost control. There was no wet pavement," Butler said.
The tanker fell from Interstate 75 in southwest Detroit. Flames shot dozens of feet in the air. A home near where it landed caught fire as well.
"None of the witnesses said the truck swerved," Michigan State Police Lt. Monica Yesh said. "There are no skid marks, which usually indicates a medical emergency somewhere along the line."