I-70 eastbound reopens between Silt, New Castle after semi-truck fire | AspenTimes.com

I-70 eastbound reopens between Silt, New Castle after semi-truck fire

Alex Zorn
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
Photo taken at site of wreck in New Castle early Friday.
Andrew Whiteside/Courtesy photo

Eastbound Interstate 70 was closed most of Friday at New Castle for cleanup after a semitractor-trailer burst into flames in the early morning.

Colorado State Patrol Trooper Ivan Alvardo said two motorcycle riders were heading down the highway when a bear forced them to come to a complete stop.

A semi hit one of the motorcycles from behind, and sparks from the collision ignited the truck. State Patrol received the initial call at 3:37 a.m.

Rifle resident Andrew Whiteside was driving on I-70 at the time and was the first on the scene to what he described as a series of explosions.

“Once the fire hit the cabin it just ignited,” he said. “Flames were coming off the truck 15 to 20 feet.”

He said that he was putting fires out in the median when an explosion from the truck ignited a fireball that launched him off his feet.

“Even just being in the median, 30 feet from the truck, it was hot,” he added.

Paramedics checked Whiteside for smoke inhalation when they arrived, and he later went to the emergency room in Rifle.

He said he was having a little trouble breathing, but was otherwise uninjured.

Alvardo said both motorcycle riders were transported to the hospital, one suffering a broken wrist, but no other injuries were reported.