Fire torches semitractor on I-15

ST GEORGE – The off-ramp from northbound Interstate 15 at Exit 2 was shut down for over an hour Saturday night when a semitractor caught on fire.

The St. George Fire Department, Utah Highway Patrol and Arizona Department of Public Safety responded to a semitractor fire on northbound I-15 at Exit 2 Saturday night. The fire was quickly doused by fire crews and no one was injured, though the semitractor is considered a loss, St. George, Utah, Nov. 28, 2015 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
The St. George Fire Department, Utah Highway Patrol and Arizona Department of Public Safety responded to a semitractor fire on northbound I-15 at Exit 2 Saturday night. The fire was quickly doused by fire crews and no one was injured, though the semitractor is considered a loss, St. George, Utah, Nov. 28, 2015 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Around 8 p.m., the St. George Communications Center began to receive multiple calls about a semi on northbound I-15 that was giving off smoke and flames, St. George Fire Chief Robert Stoker said.

The driver, who was hauling a semitrailer full of frozen vegetables, told responders he had pulled into the port of entry at the state line and hadn’t noticed anything wrong with his truck at the time. However, after leaving the port and heading down the hill into Utah, smoke began to appear out from under the sleeper compartment of the semitractor.

Another semitractor-trailer driver on northbound I-15 also noticed the smoke and fire coming from the semi ahead of him and was likely among one of the many calls into dispatch, Stoker said.

The driver of the smoking semi pulled off the roadway at the Exit 2 off-ramp and was able to get out of the cab before the fire engulfed its interior. The driver of the second semi also pulled over and tried to help put out the fire with an extinguisher but was unable to do so.

The St. George Fire Department, Utah Highway Patrol and Arizona Department of Public Safety each responded to a semitruck fire on northbound I-15 at Exit 2. The fire was quickly doused by fire crews and no one was injured, though the semi is considered a loss, St. George, Utah, Nov. 28, 2015 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
The St. George Fire Department, Utah Highway Patrol and Arizona Department of Public Safety responded to a semitractor fire on northbound I-15 at Exit 2. The fire was quickly doused by fire crews and no one was injured, though the semitractor is considered a loss, St. George, Utah, Nov. 28, 2015 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

“At that point there was heavy fire coming out below the sleeper and towards the rear of the cab,” the fire chief said.

By this time fire crews began to arrive on scene

“Upon our arrival we did find the interior of the cab involved in fire and also underneath around the battery compartment,” Stoker said.

Fire crews put out the fire, but the semitractor was a total loss, Stoker said. The cab and its interior were heavily damaged, though the motor compartment appeared to have escaped the fire untouched. The trailer was also undamaged.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but appears to have its origin in the battery bank, Stoker said.

Northbound Exit 2 off-ramp was shutdown by Utah Highway Patrol while the fire was knocked down and cleanup began.

Members of Arizona Department of Public Safety also responded to the scene.

This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

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Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

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