News Short: Semitrailer catches fire; closes one I-15 northbound lane near Cedar City

A semitractor-trailer caught fire Wednesday night, temporarily shutting down I-15 while fire crews from Cedar City Fire Department work to put the fire out and clean up, Cedar City, Utah, May 25, 2016 | Photo by Tracie Sullivan, St. George/Cedar City News
A semitractor-trailer caught fire Wednesday night, temporarily shutting down I-15 while emergency crews work to put the fire out and clean up, Cedar City, Utah, May 25, 2016 | Photo by Tracie Sullivan, St. George/Cedar City News
A semitractor-trailer caught fire Wednesday night, temporarily shutting down part of I-15 while emergency crews work to put the fire out and clean up, Cedar City, Utah, May 25, 2016 | Photo by Tracie Sullivan, St. George/Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY – One lane is closed while emergency crews work to clear the aftermath of a semitractor-trailer that went up in flames late Wednesday on Interstate 15.

Officials expect the closure to last all night.

“These types of incidents, the fire and the semitractor, take a long time to get cleaned up and I expect the road to be closed until morning,” Cedar City Fire Chief Mike Phillips said. “It’s going to take us a while to get it all done.”

The right lane on the northbound side of I-15 from around milepost 55 to 57 is temporarily closed with traffic directed to the left lane.

The interstate was shut down completely for a short time to give fire crews an opportunity to put out the fire but within 30 minutes authorities had traffic flowing again in the one lane.

Authorities are asking motorists to slow down while crews continue cleanup efforts. A significant amount of traffic is on the road right now with a big holiday weekend around the corner.

A semitractor-trailer caught fire Wednesday night, temporarily shutting down I-15 while emergency crews work to put the fire out and clean up, Cedar City, Utah, May 25, 2016 | Photo by Tracie Sullivan, St. George/Cedar City News
A semitractor-trailer caught fire Wednesday night, temporarily shutting down I-15 while emergency crews work to put the fire out and clean up, Cedar City, Utah, May 25, 2016 | Photo by Tracie Sullivan, St. George/Cedar City News

“There are people driving by trying to get their pristine photos of the incident so they slam on their brakes to slow down. Then there are rubberneckers trying to see what’s going on and we almost had a couple of really bad accidents out here,” Phillips said. “So please, we are asking drivers to slow down – especially when they see emergency responders. They need to pay attention to the road in front of them and not try to find out what’s going on.”

Fire crews and law enforcement were dispatched about 10:45 p.m. to reports of a semi on fire. When they arrived, the entire semi was in flames. Phillips called it “a total loss.”

The fire started in the rear of the trailer on axle three on the right side, Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Adam Gibbs said.

The cause of the fire is still unknown however, Gibbs said authorities believe it was a brake or low tire.

“Semi fires are very common,” Gibbs said. “It’s basically the driver not knowing something is wrong with their truck. They go a million miles and if they don’t check their trucks to make sure their equipment is safe then anything can happen. It really comes down to the drivers making sure their trucks are safe for the roads.”

No one was reported injured in the incident.

The Utah Department of Transportation is on scene and will be assisting the Utah Highway Patrol and fire crews from the Cedar City Fire Department in making sure the fire is completely out and to help with traffic control. A wrecker company has also been called in to help with cleanup.

A semitractor-trailer caught fire Wednesday night, temporarily shutting down I-15 while emergency crews work to put the fire out and clean up, Cedar City, Utah, May 25, 2016 | Photo by Tracie Sullivan, St. George/Cedar City News
A semitractor-trailer caught fire Wednesday night, temporarily shutting down I-15 while emergency crews work to put the fire out and clean up, Cedar City, Utah, May 25, 2016 | Photo by Tracie Sullivan, St. George/Cedar City News

Email: tsullivan@stgnews.com

Twitter: @tracie_sullivan

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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