DENVER (CBS4) – A tractor-trailer fire in the Denver Tech Center area closed both directions of Interstate 25 Wednesday afternoon.
Three southbound lanes reopened on Wednesday afternoon but northbound lanes were expected to remain closed until Thursday morning.
Once fire crews completed cleanup of the fire and the pavement temperature cools, CDOT would assess pavement damage. Heat from the fire caused damage to the pavement and the median barrier.
The crash involving a semi that was hauling approximately 500 gallons of diesel and other fuels happened just before noon in the northbound lanes of I-25 between Orchard Road and Belleview Avenue.
The fire burned for nearly three hours. It was finally put out around 3 p.m. with the help of foam and sand.
“I just heard a huge ‘boom’ and I didn’t know what was happening. So I looked outside and thought my building was on fire,” witness Alex Cossoff said.
One person was injured and transported to the hospital with unknown injuries.
It was reportedly the driver of the truck who was seen in YouTube video escaping the flames with the help of two CDOT workers.
Preliminary investigation reveals the fire may have started when one of the truck’s tires blew out.
No other vehicles were involved. The truck was towed away shortly after 6 p.m.
Crews worked to keep any kind of contaminants from getting into storm drains.
All light rail service had been shut down between Dry Creek and Belleview but is once again running.
PHOTO GALLERY: I-25 Tanker Fire
Because the interstate was closed for hours, side streets were flooded with traffic.
CDOT urges drivers to expect delays in the region.
The Colorado Department of Transportation said it would reimburse tolls for traffic on E-470 detouring from the I-25 closure. Other routes recommended for drivers in that area include C-470 for northbound traffic and I-225 and U.S. 85 for southbound traffic.
“We’re going to need about 100 tons of asphalt. That asphalt is ready to go,” CDOT Executive Director Shailen Bhatt said about repairing the highway. “We’ve got the crews in place … we’re asking for your patience as we deal with this extraordinary situation.”
LINK: Traffic Section