Fire chief: Semi hauling strawberries destroyed in fire

News

EFFINGHAM COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — First responders said they were called to a car fire involving a semi on eastbound I-70.

In a news release, Effingham Fire Chief Bob Tutko said it happened on I-70, just west of I-57. The semi was loaded with strawberries. The semi and the contents were destroyed in the fire. Tutko said the value of the semi and the strawberries combined was $210,000.

Tutko said the driver was a 33-year-old California man. He told responders he stopped about an hour earlier for fuel and performed a safety check before leaving and found no issues with the truck.

While driving on the interstate, the driver noticed a large amount of fire near the right rear axle assembly of the tractor. “By the time the driver was able to pull to the shoulder, the fire had already engulfed the passenger side of the truck cab and the front of the trailer–he was unable to fight the fire, and was not hurt,” said Tutko.

“Effingham Fire Officials deemed the fire accidental with the likely cause of a mechanical failure in the Truck Tractor,” the chief stated in the news release.

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