Burning truck carrying propane and oxygen tanks explodes on I-5 downtown Thursday

Friday, July 29, 2022

WSDOT crews at the burnt out remains
of the truck fire on I-5
By Diane Hettrick

As if the ferry crashing into the dock weren't enough, a spectacular fire on I-5 at Mercer shut down all lanes of the freeway.

According to The Seattle Times

A truck carrying propane and oxygen tanks caught fire Thursday afternoon on Interstate 5 in Seattle, prompting authorities to close all lanes of the freeway while fire crews extinguished the blaze.

The fire started shortly before 1:10pm on the southbound freeway between the Lakeview and Mercer Street exits.

“Tanks are exploding,” the Seattle Fire Department said on Twitter shortly before 2pm. “Please avoid the area.”

The northbound lanes reopened at 2:30pm, a little more than an hour after the fire was reported. The southbound express lanes opened later in the afternoon, and three other southbound lanes opened in the early evening. Officials opened the remaining southbound lane about 7:30pm.

The driver was not injured. The fire and explosions were apparently all from his cargo. Seattle Fire is still on scene at this point. Fire retardant covered the road. It looks like something is still burning - the smoke cloud drifts toward the drivers trapped on the southbound lanes. Some traffic is getting through northbound.
A crew is working on the overhead sign. One SB lane has been opened to traffic.

Videos showed a fireball with black smoke reaching high in the air. Exploding tanks bounced along the roadway. (sorry - no visuals we can publish).

The sign appears singed.

Traffic was backed up five miles.

Photo courtesy Washington State Patrol

Seattle Fire spent several hours making sure the fire was out before turning the scene over to WSDOT.

Bridge inspectors checked out the elevated roadway. WSDOT crews came in to remove the burnt out truck and clear the roadway. WSDOT construction crews brought in equipment to work on the damaged overhead sign.

All photos courtesy WSDOT except as noted


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