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Tractor-Trailer Catches Fire, Wrecks on I-70 in Ohio County, Disrupting Traffic for Hours

Photo by Derek Redd - Crews clean up the site of a tractor-trailer crash Wednesday near the Cabela Drive exit on Interstate 70 East. The accident and response snarled traffic for most of the morning and afternoon.

TRIADELPHIA — Traffic came to a screeching halt Wednesday morning on Interstate 70 East near The Highlands after a tractor-trailer traveling the highway caught fire, and it remained stopped until mid-afternoon.

Ohio County Emergency Management Agency Director Lou Vargo said the first calls on the incident arrived at 8:43 a.m. The driver of the truck, which was carrying clothes and furniture, smelled diesel as he traveled up Two-Mile Hill.

“Then he saw flames under the dashboard,” Vargo said. “He got off the road, but then slid off toward the creek. By the time the first engine got there, the truck was fully engulfed and it was into the box trailer.”

The wreck happened right before the Cabela Drive exit on I-70 East. The Valley Grove, Bethlehem, Triadelphia, Stone Church and West Alexander fire departments responded, as did the Ohio County EMA and the sheriff’s department, according to Vargo.

The driver was forced to dive out of the truck, but sustained no injuries, he said.

The highway remained closed well into the afternoon, with traffic being diverted to the Elm Grove exit on I-70 East. At one point early Wednesday afternoon, traffic on that highway backed up all the way to WVU Medicine Wheeling Hospital.

By late Wednesday afternoon, all lanes had reopened.

The truck was registered to a trucking company out of Rockford, Illinois, he said. Vargo had no additional information.

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