Colleton County (SC) Fire-Rescue responded to a tractor trailer fire at 2:15 am, on May 19th.
The fire occurred on I-95 at the 61 mile marker southbound. The truck initially suffered a problem with the brakes on the rear wheels of the tractor.
The fire quickly spread to the adjacent fuel tanks, cab and trailer/container. Firefighters arrived within minutes to find the cab heavily involved. Both fuel tanks were breached, spilling approximately 110 gallons of diesel fuel on the ground which was also burning.
The tremendous heat on the exterior of the container caused the load of spooled cotton yarn to ignite. Firefighters quickly gained control of the cab and fuel fire.
The pallets of spooled yarn were stacked to the ceiling making it impossible to direct water streams from the rear doors to the burning product at the front of the container.
Firefighters were forced to begin unloading the pallets of product from the rear of the container by hand. A Squad Truck with straps and chains was later used to pull the pallets out on to the ground.
Southbound I-95 between Exit #62 and Exit #57 was closed to all traffic for 4 1/2 hours.
Travelers were re-routed to US Hwy 15 through Walterboro. A backhoe was brought to the scene and used to tear a large hole in the side of the trailer.
The burning product was then scrapped out onto the highway where firefighters were able to use hand lines to soak the product with water and foam.
Four tankers shuttled water for the firefighting effort.
No injuries were reported.
Engine 2401, Tanker 103, Tanker 1904, Tanker 2402, Tanker 2602, Rescue 105, Rescue 1902, Squad 1, Medic 1, Medic 27, Truck 11, Truck 12 responded as well as EPD, Sheriff's Office, Highway Patrol, SCDOT and State Dept. of Health Officials.
Captain Dan Barb served as Incident Commander.