UPDATE: I-95 back open after morning truck fire

Posted at 7:42 AM, Mar 06, 2014
and last updated 2014-03-06 16:55:18-05

PRINCE GEORGE COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) -- All are back open on I-95 south at I-295 (mm 46) in Prince George County after a Thursday morning tractor-trailer fire.

"The trailer was fully loaded with tires," Virginia State Police spokesman Sgt. Thomas Molnar wrote in an email.

Witness report seeing thick, black smoke billowing from the tractor trailer.  Smoke filled the interstate, and thirty foot spruce trees sitting next to the interstate were singed all the way to the top.

"Being so close to the woods, could you imagine if those caught on fire too?" said Mark Williams, who was one of the first drivers to approach the fire.  Williams praised the fire crews responding to the scene for their quick action.

Fire crews on scene said the flames kept spreading when the fire reached a new tire. Crews used foam and water in an attempt to put out the fire. They also attempted to remove each tire from the trailer. A process that took  "some time."

VDOT said the interstate would remain closed until about 4 p.m. as traffic from I-295 south was being diverted to Exit 3 (Rives Rd.).

There were no reported injuries, police said.

"Based on the preliminary investigation, the fire started as the result of a brake fire on the trailer," Molnar added.  Further investigation indicated the brake system failed at the driver's side wheel well and caught fire.  Those flames spread to the trailer, packed with tires.

State Police were called to the fire scene about 7:13 a.m.

VDOT offered the following detour:

Take Exit 47 (Rives Rd.) to Rt. 301 (S. Crater Rd.) back to I-95 south near mm 45.