Semi cab goes up in flames on I-70
August 4, 2008
EDWARDS, Colo. ” The cab of a semi truck went up in flames on Interstate 70 when its front tire ejected and hit a parked car early Sunday morning, police and fire officials said.
“Luckily, there weren’t too many people around,” said Nick Tadrzynski, 31, who witnessed the aftermath of the accident. “The tire came flying off the highway and was still smoking when it hit.”
The truck’s right front tire flew hundreds of feet from the eastbound lanes of the highway, became airborne and struck Loren Dumont’s parked sport utility vehicle.
Dumont said he was eating breakfast in his Miller Ranch townhome when he heard a loud explosion.
“I thought, ‘That was weird,’ because it sounded like a bomb going off,” he said. “I looked out the window, and I saw something slam into my car.”
Dumont said the rim of the tire hit the passenger side door, shattering the window and jamming it shut.
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“It was definitely a freak accident and it changed my day,” Dumont said. “I wasn’t expecting to deal with this.”
The driver of the semi, William Kennedy, of Redfield, Ark., escaped from the fire unharmed, said State Patrol Cpl. Larry Graves.
“The driver of the semi was able to get away,” Graves said. “The cab was fully engulfed in flames. We’re pretty lucky that the tire rolled all that way and didn’t hit any children.”
I-70 was closed from Wolcott to Avon for roughly 30 minutes.
Sparks from the axle of the truck apparently caused the semi to catch fire, police said.
“Once the wheel separated, it threw off sparks, and it looks like that was origin of the fire,” Graves said. “(The driver) came to a stop on the shoulder and was able to get out, but at that point the trailer was on fire and he wasn’t able to put it out.”
No injuries were reported in the incident, Graves said.
Fire crews quickly contained the fire to the vehicle without allowing it to spread onto wild brush on the shoulder of I-70, said Kevin Rindy, Eagle River Fire Protection
District battalion chief, in a statement Sunday.
The vehicle was carrying military supplies to Austin, Texas, Rindy said.
“The fact that it’s a Sunday and not a weekday is a huge difference,” Tadrzynski said. “If this had happened on a weekday, everybody in Miller Ranch would have been leaving for work.”
The Eagle County Ambulance District, Colorado Department of Transportation and Colorado State Patrol personnel also assisted in the incident.