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Part of I-15 Closed After Semi-Truck Exploded This Morning

Part of I-15 Closed After Semi-Truck Exploded This Morning


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Alex Cabrero Reporting Most Utah drivers may be able to point to some memorable experience on I-15. This morning though, the interstate had to be shut down near Bountiful because of one truck driver's big adventure.

We can call this an adventure now because everything turned out okay. The truck driver did everything right when she felt one of her tires blow out. She pulled over, but she probably never thought what happened next would happen.

In no time, this truck went from hauling scrap metal down I-15 to becoming scrap metal itself. Lt. Robert Anderson with the Utah Highway Patrol says that when a semi goes up in flames, they burn really fast. And that is exactly what happened. "We had to close down all southbound lanes for about 15 minutes to a half an hour," Lt. Anderson told KSL.

The smoke and flames were so intense that state troopers had no choice but to close the interstate. "We had zero visibility on both sides of the interstate," Lt. Anderson said.

Some passing motorists who saw the truck burning tried putting it out with their personal extinguishers, but that didn't work. Firefighters then arrived and they were able to put the fire out.

There's not much left to the front of the truck, but the driver told investigators what happened. "It's hard to inspect this truck with the way it looks now," Lt. Anderson said. "She blew a tire, the right front tire."

That happens all the time to big rigs, but not like this. "As the rubber and tire sparks came up in the engine area, the fiberglass started the truck on fire," Lt. Anderson said.

At one point, the tire that blew off the truck crossed two lanes of traffic near Bountiful, and that was just the beginning. Lt. Anderson said that the truck actually exploded a couple of times, while the tires blew up and were thrown onto the freeway.

Fortunately, no one was hurt, and state troopers say the driver did everything right, as soon as she knew something was wrong. "She had time to pull over and come to a stop, so she's fortunate she got out of the vehicle when she did," Lt. Anderson said.

We wanted to talk to the truck driver about what she went through, and how she was trained to do the right thing, but her boss wouldn't let her talk to us. The most important thing, though, is that she and everyone who was near that truck are all OK.

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