While driving westward on Interstate 84 on the morning of Wednesday, April 9, an unidentified tractor-trailer truck driver looked into his rear-view mirror and noticed that a load of lumber positioned on his flatbed trailer had caught fire, so he stopped the truck about 2,000 feet east of the Tunnel Road overpass.
Newtown Hook & Ladder Fire Chief Ray Corbo, who was incident commander, said that the truck driver then smartly disengaged a forklift that was mounted on the full-size trailer and loosened the large load of lumber so that he could remove the burning wood from the trailer.
The trucker then removed a burning bundle of lumber from the vehicle, which had been enroute from Botsford to a New York State construction site, Chief Corbo said. There were no injuries in the incident.
Chief Corbo said that heat emanating from the truck’s tall exhaust pipe apparently ignited a section of the lumber load positioned on the trailer. The truck itself was not damaged.
Twelve Hook & Ladder firefighters went to the scene. Sandy Hook firefighters staged their equipment at the Exit 10 entrance ramp to westbound I-84 in the 9:15 am call.
The “engineered lumber” carried on the tuck included prefabricated wooden structures which are used in construction.
Firefighters used about 300 gallons of water to put out the fire, Chief Corbo said. Before firefighters arrived, the trucker and a state Department of Transportation worker used fire extinguishers to control the blaze.
During the incident, traffic on westbound I-84 was diverted to the high-speed lane.
Firefighters spent about two hours at the scene.