San Francisco, California, firefighters were on scene when a tractor trailer truck caught fire on Interstate 80 and tied up traffic on the West Bay Bridge for over 2 hours this morning.
"The truck driver pulled to the side of the road with a flat tire at 5:45 a.m. and realized that his engine was on fire," said California Highway Patrol Sgt. Laura Clare. "The driver jumped out of his cab and ran away from the truck, which eventually became fully engulfed in flames," Clare said. He was not injured. The cargo on the truck was groceries, including rice and sushi, that were headed from Castro Valley to San Francisco. The truck and its load were destroyed.
San Francisco Fire Department declared the big rig fire contained at 6:44 A.M. Two right lanes closed W/B just off Bay Bridge. Major delays.
— KTVU Traffic (@ktvutraffic) August 5, 2013
Traffic on the bridge was a nightmare. Early in the day, officials had hoped to open the bridge by 9 a.m., but traffic continued to be backed up for an additional two hours.
The fire created a fireball that could be seen rising above the freeway which made it impossible for drivers to see.
"Commuters were 'lucky' a BART strike was headed off late Sunday, because thousands of additional cars would have been on the freeway without train service," said CHP Officer Kevin Bartlett. "That would have been perfect timing for it," Bartlett said. "Perfect in bizarro world."
Fire investigators examined the charred wreckage and crews removed the truck from the freeway.