Tractor-Trailer Fires Stall Lake Tahoe Traffic

Drivers Heading to Lake Tahoe Delayed by Tractor-Trailer Fires

Two tractor-trailer fires along two major highways to Lake Tahoe occurred just at the same time as holiday vacationers were making their way toward this popular destination. A large tractor-trailer fire near Kyburz in El Dorado County closed down the highway for hours on July 1 as firefighters battled the blaze when it spread to the surrounding area. The incident occurred along Highway 50 shortly before 11:30 a.m. and was responded to by the Placerville office of the California Highway Patrol (CHP). Highway 50 was shut down in both directions as the blaze spread into nearby vegetation. 

Tractor-Trailer Fire Completely Demolishes Big Rig

The tractor-trailer was completely destroyed by the blaze. The CHP reported that the brakes of the semi were smoking at about 10:20 a.m. when the driver pulled to the side of the roadway. However, minutes later, flames and smoke were seen in the front left tire, which quickly spread to the vegetation on the side of the roadway. By 11:00 a.m., the semi had burned to the ground. 

Holiday Vacationers Delayed for Hours in Reaching South Lake Tahoe

Traffic by travelers on their way to Lake Tahoe for the 4th of July weekend faced delays as the road remained closed for almost eight hours, reopening at Kyburz around 6:00 p.m. Highway 50 will have to be at least partially shut down once again as the wreckage from the tractor-trailer fire is removed. Fortunately, no injuries were reported in the incident. 

Firefighters Quickly Extinguish Potentially Dangerous Blaze

Firefighters with Amador-Eldorado Cal Fire and the U.S. Forest Service responded to the potentially dangerous blaze before it got out of control. Kyburz abuts the El Dorado National Forest, and a fire in this location could have turned into a major blaze and disaster for area residents. Even after the fire was mostly extinguished, firefighters remained to clear up hot spots that could potentially reignite. 

Tractor-Trailer Fire Occurs on I-80 the Same Day

The second fire involved a burning tractor-trailer along Interstate 80, which occurred near Colfax on the same day. Westbound I-80 east of the town had to be closed down while crews put out the burning vehicle. Heavy delays were expected, and traffic had to be rerouted to Rollins Lake Road. No information was provided on the cause of the second big rig fire.

Causes of Tractor-Trailer Fires

There are a number of causes of tractor-trailer fires, many of which are preventable with proper maintenance and handling of the vehicle. Some of the reasons this type of accident occurs are:

  • Mechanical failure is the cause of semi fires in the majority of instances.
  • Malfunction or failure in the electrical system is the second-leading cause of tractor-trailer fires.
  • Collisions or rollover accidents can lead to a big rig fire.
  • Bad brakes or using them improperly can cause them to heat up and catch fire.
  • Bad wheel bearings can cause tractor-trailer fires.
  • Tire blowouts cause tractor-trailer fires when dragging brakes are involved.

The Dangers of Poorly Maintained Big Rigs

Dangerous tractor-trailers that have been poorly maintained or have defective parts can end up causing a serious accident that involves passenger vehicles and others. Those who are involved can end up suffering burn injuries, head and spinal cord trauma and other wounds that can result in high medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. A personal injury lawyer can assist them in placing a claim to recover compensation for those losses.

South Lake Tahoe Personal Injury Lawyer

I am Ed Smith, a South Lake Tahoe personal injury lawyer. If you are injured by a big rig, you may be able to recover compensation. You can contact our injury lawyers at (530) 392-9400 for free and friendly advice. You can also contact us online or by calling (800) 404-5400. 

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Photo attribution: Image by Daniel Zuflucht from Pixabay 

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