The Norman Transcript

July 10, 2013

Vehicle fire shuts down I-35

By Jessica Bruha
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — A vehicle fire shut down north and southbound lanes of Interstate 35 for about two hours Wednesday night after fire crews determined the vehicle was hauling an acid-based substance.

Crews responded to the scene around 6:46 p.m. on I-35 northbound, a quarter-mile north of Rock Creek Road.

“When fire crews determined it was an acid (material) on the placards of the truck, they (police) immediately started evacuation,” Norman Deputy Fire Chief Jim Bailey said.

They later found out the truck was carrying highway striping paint. There were 12 totes, which can hold 350 gallons of paint each, on the truck. Bailey said if all the totes were full, the vehicle could have been potentially carrying about 4,200 gallons of paint.

Whatever the amount of paint, “it’s all gone now,” he said. The vehicle was completely involved when fire crews arrived on scene.

Bailey said Wednesday night, now that the fire has been extinguished, hazmat will be cleaning up the area. Environmental cleanup is included in the process.

The driver of the truck reported she had a tire blow out and when she pulled over, she saw that the back of the trailer had caught fire. The truck was owned by Texas Blue Thunder and was carrying the paint load fromTexas to Montana.

No injuries were reported.

While fire crews extinguished the vehicle, Norman police shut down the interstate and evacuated businesses in the area. Bailey said since smoke was initially moving to the west, police evacuated businesses west of the interstate. Then, as it turned north, Journey Church was evacuated as well.