Turnpike lanes finally clear six hours after truck fire
The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission announced the westbound lanes were clear at 7:15 p.m., more than six hours after a tractor-trailer fire had backed up traffic.
Westbound traffic was at a standstill for nearly two hours after the truck was stopped about 12:40 p.m. along the shoulder near mile marker 53.8 in Plum, near the Saltsburg Road overpass between the Pittsburgh and Allegheny Valley exits.
State police said a mechanical failure in the engine compartment of the Freightliner truck sparked the fire. The flames spread to the first of two covered trailers the truck was hauling, heavily damaging eight Mini Cooper cars inside.
The truck driver, Derwin Allen Freeman of Detroit, was not reported to be injured. A message left for the trucking company, Precision Motor Transport Group in Okemos, Mich., was not returned.
The commission reported one westbound lane reopened at 2:30 p.m. and both lanes were open by 5 p.m. Eastbound traffic was not directly impacted.
Plum and Monroeville firefighters responded, as did Allegheny Township-based McCutcheon Enterprises for assistance in cleaning up and containing any hazardous materials.
A police report did not indicate that any charges would be filed.
Liz Hayes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4680 or firstname.lastname@example.org.