Tractor trailer catches fire on Thruway
PORTLAND — A tractor trailer caught on fire in between Dunkirk’s Exit 59 and Westfield’s Exit 60 on Interstate 90 Saturday at 2:30 p.m.
A trooper from the New York State Thruway Police in Dunkirk stated it was a brake fire for the vehicle in the eastbound lane in the town of Portland.
“It was horrible,” he noted late in a busy day. “I was a first responder and tried using a fire extinguisher. That did not work at all. The fire progressively got worse. I blocked off the right lane so cars can get by. … Then it was engulfed in flames. The tires were exploding. The fire trucks showed up and we blocked the eastbound lanes.”
The driver disconnected the trailer and the truck as the trooper arrived. The trailer, which was described as burnt with 42,000 pounds of epsom salts significantly damaged, was caved in from the middle. After the blaze was downed, the remains of the trailer were placed on the south shoulder to later be removed.
The trooper noted that Westfield’s fire department “got there pretty quickly” and that there were no injuries. It took around an hour and a half to completely finish the fire and the roadblock.
Another problem that the trooper stressed was the speed of the drivers going around the incident. With it going down to one lane and the wintry conditions that the area faces, speed is as much of a catalyst as any. The trooper noted that he clocked a driver at 84 miles per hour Saturday.
“Slow down and move over,” he emphasized to thruway drivers, “and you will see a drastic change in accidents.”