Fiery crash closes I-64 downtown; traffic backup stretches five miles into Illinois

News-DemocratFebruary 7, 2014 

A truck fire, hazardous material clean-up and lots of ice from fire hoses in St. Louis left the westbound Interstate 64 lanes congested for the Friday morning commute. Traffic was backed up file miles at one point.

TIM VIZER/BND

The westbound lanes of Interstate 64 were closed Friday morning in downtown St. Louis after a tractor-trailer truck caught fire on the highway.

Traffic was backed up about 5 miles across the Poplar Street Bridge at the peak of rush hour. Emergency workers urged metro-east commuters to use the Martin Luther King Bridge or another alternate route to get downtown until the road was finally re-opened about 11:30 a.m.

Interstate 64's westbound lanes were closed shortly before 6 a.m. near the Market Street exit because of the fire. The semi, which had a warning sign on its tandem trailers indicating that it contains hazardous materials, burned furiously as firefighters sprayed it with water, coating the highway with ice.

Firefighters thought they had the blaze put out by 7 a.m. But, after smoldering for a while, the flames reignited.

A large tow truck could be seen spinning its wheels at about 8 a.m. as it tried to tug the tractor-trailer off the road.

The driver of the truck reportedly escaped without injury.

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