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BREAKING: Tractor-trailer fire backs up traffic for miles on I-40
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Interstate 40

BREAKING: Tractor-trailer fire backs up traffic for miles on I-40


VALDESE — Traffic was backed up for more than three hours near Valdese after a tractor-trailer caught fire on Interstate 40 on Thursday afternoon.

Shortly before noon, firefighters responded to a call near westbound mile marker 109 after a Food Lion tractor-trailer caught fire, with heavy smoke coming from the back of the truck, said Matthew Franklin, assistant chief at Triple Community Fire Department.

The driver was not injured.

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The fire forced the driver to pull onto the shoulder of the interstate. Shortly thereafter, the fire spilled over into the nearby woods, Franklin said.

The driver told Franklin he wasn’t sure what happened, but that he believed the fire started in the bottom of the truck resulting from a mechanical issue.

Franklin said he expected traffic to be snarled for at least three hours, partly due to a fender-bender that occurred as a result of the backup.

“Pretty much everybody did pretty well as far as stopping and trying to get over (into the single lane,)” he said. “As you can see, the normal human reaction would be to bow up.”  

Lovelady Fire and Rescue, Drexel Fire Department, the State Highway Patrol, the N.C. Department of Transportation and Burke REACT also responded to the call, Fire Marshal Mike Willis said.

Johnny Casey is a staff writer and can be reached at or 828-432-8907. 

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Johnny Casey has been covering education and writing feature stories for The News Herald since Aug. 2019

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