Truck Fire Closes Beeline For Six Hours

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An 18-wheeler hauling straw rolled, caught fire and closed the northbound lanes of Highway 87 for six hours Saturday.

The accident occurred at about 8:15 a.m., Feb. 21 at milepost 228.2, Sgt. Rich Alvarez of the Department of Public Safety said.

"The 18-wheeler was coming down the hill and was unable to slow down," Alvarez said. "The driver said his brakes failed. He lost control and the truck rolled onto its left side."

Alvarez said the driver was uninjured, except for a small cut on his forehead.

"It was carrying bales of straw," Alvarez said. "I heard a lot of people saying if it had been hay, they would have taken some."

The vehicle caught fire and was completely destroyed, however only a few bales of straw burned, but quite a bit of it smoldered, the sergeant said.

"When we got up to it, all you could see were the smoke stacks on the back of the cab, the rest of it looked like it was melted into little piles," said Shannon Marshall, a Rim country resident who was in the backed-up traffic in the northbound lane of Highway 87. She said the driver had two trailer-loads of straw.

"Northbound traffic was rerouted to the Bush Highway," Alvarez said. "Initially, we pushed some of the straw aside to let the backed-up traffic through and we let southbound traffic flow intermittently. The straw was in both lanes."

The northbound lane of Highway 87 was closed from about 8:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m., the sergeant said.

Alvarez said the accident is still under investigation.

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