Semi Fire On I-70 Snarls Traffic

CLAY COUNTY, IN ( (Source: Indiana State Police) — Indiana State Police and Posey Township Fire Department Monday morning responded to a tractor-trailer fire on Interstate 70 eastbound near the 17 mile marker.  

Courtesy Indiana State Police

Preliminary investigation revealed a 2016 Kenworth tractor, pulling a box trailer full of Tyson chicken from Springdale, Arkansas, was being driven by a 47-year-old Michael J. Baniel, of Montgomery, Alabama.  Baniel was eastbound on Interstate 70 near the 17 mile marker when he heard a tire explode on his trailer. Baniel immediately pulled the tractor-trailer over onto the emergency lane of Interstate 70 to inspect for mechanical issues.  Upon exiting his tractor, Baniel observed flames coming from the rear tandems of the trailer. Baniel immediately grabbed his fire extinguisher and attempted to put out the fire, but was unsuccessful. At that time, Baniel disengaged the tractor from the trailer and drove it a safe distance from the burning fire.  He then called 911 and waited for the fire department to arrive.

Interstate 70 eastbound was shut down for approximately one hour while the Posey Township Fire Department extinguished the fire.  Once the fire was extinguished, Interstate 70 was reopened with traffic reduced down to one lane.

Poor Boys Towing Service was then contracted by Tyson Food Service for the clean up.  

All lanes of Interstate 70 eastbound were reopened at approximately 11:00 a.m.

The fire was investigated by Sgt. Matt Ames.  Assisting were ISP Master Trooper Hans Novak, Posey Township Fire Department, Vigo County Sheriff’s Department, Indiana Department of Transportation, and Poor Boys Towing Service.  

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