Alachua, FL - Shortly before 5pm, on November 30th in the midst of rush hour, emergency personnel from Alachua County Fire Rescue and High Springs Fire Department responded to a routine Level II Hazardous Materials call.
Upon arrival, however, firefighters and HazMat technicians found a fully involved tractor trailer carrying 42,000 lbs. of commercial cooking oil. Acting swiftly, firefighters suppressed the flames with a combination of high pressure water and foam.
According to the rig's driver, Walter Webb, the vehicle's brakes began acting up on I-75 Northbound. After exiting at Alachua, Webb discovered that the brakes were smoking. Unfortunately, it was too late; the vehicle's tires ruptured from the heat and set the rig ablaze.
Once the fire was out, firefighters thanked Webb for his quick thinking. By exiting at the first sign of trouble and parking the truck in an open lot, he prevented the ensuing blaze from closing both I-75 and Rte. 441. Nevertheless, 3,600 gallons of cooking oil ended up on the ground causing a slippery mess that took several hours and numerous truckloads of sand to clean up.