18-wheeler fire closes I-20 west for hours

Published 10:49 am Thursday, November 15, 2018

Westbound Interstate 20 traffic was backed up for about eight hours Thursday after a 18-wheeler pulling tandem trailers caught fire about 4 a.m. between Bovina and the Vicksburg city limits.

Warren County fire coordinator Jerry Briggs said the truck was owned by a contractor and pulling two FedEx trailers full of various items. The names of the truck driver and the contractor were unavailable. The driver was not injured.

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Firefighters from the Bovina and Culkin Volunteer Fire departments battled the blaze, which shut down traffic for about four hours. Briggs said authorities were able to open one lane of traffic about 8 a.m. Traffic was back to normal about 2 p.m.

Briggs said the driver told firefighters the fire came from the tractor’s engine compartment and he tried to put it out with a fire extinguisher. The fire engulfed the cab and then spread to the first trailer, and the first sheriff’s deputy arriving on the scene reported the truck fully involved.

After extinguishing the truck fire, Briggs said, firefighters worked to contain the fire on first trailer to prevent it from spreading to the second.

Second wreck snarls traffic

While firefighters were fighting the fire, a second wreck involving an 18-wheeler and an SUV occurred about 7 a.m. between Bovina and Flowers during the traffic jam.

Mississippi Highway Patrol spokesman Trooper Kervin Stewart said preliminary reports indicated the 18-wheeler was stopped in the right lane and the driver of the SUV hit the driver’s side of the 18-wheeler.

The driver of the SUV, who was not identified, told the officer she may have blacked out and didn’t remember what happened. She was taken to Merit Health River Region with what were called non-life threatening injuries. The driver of the 18-wheeler was not injured.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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