Semi Truck Fire Causes Travel Problems on Interstate at Effingham


Published on May 21 2019 9:51 pm
Last Updated on May 22 2019 7:01 am
Written by Greg Sapp


A semi truck on fire on the interstate near the Fayette Avenue interchange caused travel problems for some time Tuesday evening.

Here's a look at the truck on fire:

Effingham Fire Chief Bob Tutko said the trailer was full of Kit Kat bars that were being shipped from Hershey, Pennsylvania. The driver had left Hershey at noon Monday. A passing semi helped the driver notice a fire in the nose of the semi trailer in the area of the refrigeration unit mounted at the nose of the trailer.

Tutko said the driver pulled over, but by then the rear duals of the semi cab were also on fire. The driver attempted to disconnect the trailer from the tractor, but the fire was too hot. Tutko said the driver's fire extinguisher was too small to control the fire and the driver moved away to safety.

Tutko said, "This was a stubborn fire due to the tight packing of cardboard boxes stacked within the trailer, both water and foam concentrate was used to reach the deep seated pockets of fire with little success, so the decision was made to have Tri-Power Towing and Recovery, pull the load apart with a front end loader.

Crews were on the scene for about 4 hours assisting with cleanup efforts, and Tri-Power crews had to use circular saws to cut apart the trailer and separate the cab from the trailer with the aid of a Heavy Duty Rotator wrecker."

Tutko estimated the loss at $75,000 for the truck tractor, and $45,000 for the trailer. He said the driver estimated the value of the candy lost at about $300,000. 

Shumway firefighters assisted at the scene.