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Published: Friday, May 23, 2014 @ 4:53 PM
Updated: Friday, May 23, 2014 @ 11:38 PM
MIAMI TWP. — UPDATE: The fire that heavily damaged a semi on I-75 north at Austin Boulevard on Friday afternoon is being blamed on a blown tire.
Trooper Rob van der Roest, of the Lebanon post Ohio Highway Patrol, said the driver told them one of the rear tires on his tractor exploded and caught fire. The driver, whose name was not available, told troopers his fire extinguisher couldn't put out the flames and the fire spread.
He was not injured in the fire that was reported at about 3:30 p.m.
Flames consumed the tractor, the trailer as well as the automotive parts in the trailer and forced troopers to shut down the interstate -- north and south lanes -- at about 5 p.m. The southbound lanes were reopened about 20 minutes later. Just before 6 p.m., two of the northbound lanes were reopened. Heavy northbound traffic on this Memorial Day weekend was slowed for hours and was backed up as far as Monroe in Butler County.
By 10:05 p.m., all the lanes were reopened and the semitrailer was towed from the scene, van der Roest said.
The semitrailer was destroyed, he said, and most of the assembly parts in the trailer were destroyed as well.
The driver of a semitrailer that caught fire this afternoon in the northbound lanes of I-75 at Austin Boulevard escaped unhurt, and troopers with the Ohio Highway Patrol have reopened the southbound lanes.
At 5:30 p.m., troopers said they are hoping to reopen one or two northbound lanes within the half hour.
A preliminary investigation suggests that something in the rear of the trailer overheated and caused the fire, which has destroyed the rig. The semitrailer was hauling auto parts, troopers said.