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The cabin of the semi tractor-trailer was a complete loss and can be seen here at the head of the trailer. Approximately 125 gallons of diesel fuel was spilled onto the road. Photos by Leslie Radcliff

Semi blaze shuts down I-64 west


October 16, 2013
Passersby could only watch as flames engulfed a tractor-trailer last Wednesday after an accident left the vehicle a smoldering mass of metal and shut down the west-bound lane of Interstate 64 from approximately 7:15 a.m. until 4 p.m.

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The Small Bros. crew works to attach lines to the underbelly of the trailer in order to move it from the middle of the interstate.
The interstate was closed approximately 1-1/2 miles past Exit 92 at Leavenworth while emergency and clean-up crews worked throughout the day to extinguish the fire and clear the roadway of not only the remains of the semi-tractor and trailer, but also remnants of a guardrail and almost 125 gallons of diesel-grade fuel.

"We were told he (the driver) bent down to get a drink out of the holder and, when he looked up, he was off the road," Lt. Debra Young of the Crawford County Sheriff's Department said. "He said, by the time he felt the rumble strips, it was too late and he was on the guardrail."

Neither the driver, Raymond Hayton, of Ohio, nor anyone else sustained injuries. The truck was carrying automotive glass.

"He was able to get out before the fire spread," Young said. "So, he was shook up, but he was physically alright."

In addition to the CCSD, the Indiana State Police, Indiana Department of Transportation and Crawford County Emergency Medical Services responded. Members of the Leavenworth Volunteer Fire Department also responded to the blaze and stayed on site throughout the day to help with clean-up and traffic duties.

According to authorities, no other vehicles were involved in the accident but that didn't keep traffic from backing up as efforts to divert interstate vehicles were put into place.

Due to the nature of the accident, it took authorities longer than expected to contact all needed parties. Hayton's insurance paperwork and work contact numbers were contained in the cab of the tractor-trailer, which was decimated during the burn.

Small Bros. Truck and Auto Repair Inc. was responsible for removing the wreckage. It took several hours due not only to the incinerated cabin area, but also to the disassembled trailer, which lost its back axle when it rode up onto the guardrail.

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