A tractor-trailer hauling a load of used vehicles caught fire on Interstate 81 Sunday evening, tying up traffic for about five hours.
Ronnie Adams, assistant chief of Draper Fire Department, said the department was dispatched to the fire, on the shoulder of the southbound lanes at Exit 94, around 5:30 p.m. The first units arriving on the scene found the trailer and six of the 10 vehicles it was hauling were “fully involved” with fire.
He said it took firefighters about 30-45 minutes to get the fire under control.
The driver of the truck was able to unhook the tractor from the trailer, so it wasn’t damaged. Adams said the fire apparently was the result of a mechanical problem in an axle. Although he was uncertain of the value of the cars being hauled, Adams estimated the damage to be around $50,000-$80,000 if the cars were valued at $10,000 each.
One southbound lane had to be blocked off for about four to five hours so that a wrecker could lift the vehicles off the trailer.
Responding to the incident, in addition to Draper Fire Department, was Newbern Fire Department, REMSI and the county’s emergency services coordinator.