An 18-wheeler caught fire on Interstate 20 causing the interstate to be shut down.
About 10 minutes before 4 a.m., a vehicle fire was reported to 911. The original call placed the fire near the Cracker Barrel restaurant on South Frontage Road. A second call had it in the parking lot near the Cracker Barrel. A 3rd call clarified it was on the bridge on westbound I-20 just past the Clay Street entrance onto I-20 west.
George-1, Claude Billings was the first unit on the scene and reported flames showing and verified the location of the fire. Rescue and Ladder 3 pulled up shortly thereafter. Firefighters pulled an inch and 3/4 line from the front of Ladder 3. They quickly pressurized it to 150 psi as the nozzle man put a spray pattern on the tractor part of the 18-wheeler. Once the line was fully charged firefighters were able to put out most of the flames within 60 seconds or so.
Engine 2 rolled up to the scene a few minutes later and began transferring its water to Ladder 3. It was just in time as the extremely hot tractor-trailer reignited. Flames could be seen in the cabin of the 18-wheeler. Firefighters used the refreshed load of water to put out the hot spots and by 4:15 a.m. declared the fire under control. Firefighters continued to work the fire putting out any hotspots.
The driver of the 18-wheeler said he left Columbia, Mississippi earlier this morning on his way to Tyler, Texas with a load of plywood. He said he noticed flames coming from the driver’s side back tires of the tractor. He got out to investigate and then grabbed his fire extinguisher but it was too late. The flames were already spreading and too large to be contained so he called 911 after exhausting his fire extinguisher. The driver was unharmed.
Interstate 20 westbound was reopened around 5 a.m.
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