SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– A car burst into flames on Monday morning inside the Johnson Tunnel on Interstate 70. As firefighters raced to put out the flames, fire suppression technology installed inside the tunnel went into action.

(credit: CBS)

The system isn’t designed to put out the flames but to keep them from spreading which would give firefighters more time to respond.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

“This was the worst fire we have had in there in a long time,” tunnel engineer Neal Retzer told CBS4.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

The multi-million dollar fire suppression system installed in recent years to help combat this worst case scenario had never been tested in a real life situation- until now.

The Colorado Department of Transportation says it did exactly what it was supposed to do- control the fire. Closed circuit cameras inside the tunnel captured the entire incident.

(credit: CBS)

“The system worked just as it was designed, giving our firefighters here at the tunnel and crews from neighboring counties time to get here and finish cleaning up,” said Retzer.

(credit: CBS)

No injuries were reported and within hours, crews had removed the burned out wreckage. Traffic was once again moving safely through the vital east-west connector.

Matt Kroschel

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