MT. VERNON — Five cars being hauled by a semi truck on I-64 caught fire Tuesday night, resulting in the interstate being closed for about 20 minutes, said Chief Robert Beal of the Jefferson Fire Protection District.
The incident took place shortly after 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at mile marker 72 on I-64. No injuries were reported but significant fire damage was caused to five new cars and the semi.
Authorities have not released the name of the semi driver, but the vehicle is owned by Tuff Transport out of Florida, Beal said.
While traveling eastbound on I-64, the driver reportedly noticed a BMW he was hauling was “smoking,” Beal said. This was the car located immediately behind the cab of the semi.
At that point, the driver pulled the vehicle over, got out, and used a fire extinguisher on the car.
The driver believed he had put out the fire, but was mistaken, Beal said. Soon, the blaze started up again and spread to other cars on the back of the semi. The semi was still pulled over when the fire reignited.
“Eventually, five cars were involved,” Beal said. “There were six others (on the semi) that didn't get burnt.”
JFPD officials responded to the fire and mutual aid assistance was provided by the Woodlawn and Mt. Vernon city fire departments, Beal said.
The entire interstate had to be closed down to traffic for about 20 minutes, Beal said. After that, one lane was re-opened and the interstate remained that way for roughly an hour.
Some drivers left the interstate at the Woodlawn exit. However, Beal said the road was not closed long enough for a major re-routing of traffic to occur.
The cause of the initial BMW fire is undetermined at this point, Beal said.