Semi fire causes 2-hour shutdown on westbound I-80 in Salt Lake

A semi was a total loss after it caught fire on Interstate 80 in Salt Lake City, Sunday night, July 8, 2018. Unified Fire Authority responded along with the Utah National Guard, and it took about two hours to get the road reopened. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Monico Garza/SLCScanner

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, July 9, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — An 18-wheeler was destroyed and westbound Interstate 80 at 2300 East was blocked for almost two hours Sunday night after the semi’s brakes overheated and set the entire rig on fire.

Matthew McFarland, Unified Fire Authority spokesman, said the semi, which was loaded with ice cream, was coming down from the canyon around midnight when the brakes heated up. Fire crews arrived to find the semi fully involved, and the flames had jumped to the grass alongside the road.

“They got (the grass fire) out pretty quickly,” he told Gephardt Daily. The truck blocking the road was another matter.

Salt Lake City Fire Department sent a unit to the scene, but turned things over to UFA, most likely because SLCFD was already battling a three-alarm grass fire on Beck Street near Interstate 15.

With Salt Lake’s water resources going to the Beck Street fire, the Utah National Guard was called to bring their foam-system truck to assist with the semi fire.

“Close to a dozen units responded in total,” McFarland said, adding that, as far as he knew, there were no injuries in this fire.

“The worst part was probably the traffic jam,” he said.

An investigation into the incident found it is likely the brakes caught on fire.


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