HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A vehicle fire triggered by a mattress left in the highway closed all northbound lanes of Interstate 85 near Hillsborough for about three hours, according to fire officials and an alert from the North Carolina Department of Transportation.
The interstate was closed near exit 164, which is Old NC-86, the alert said. It’s just east of the I-85/I-40 interchange. The highway reopened just after 6 p.m.
Orange Rural Fire officials said the incident was a chemical fire that started after a double tractor-trailer truck ran over a mattress on the highway.
There was later a crash in the southbound lanes when a driver hit a fire engine that was blocking lanes, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol said.
There was 5 miles of congestion on I-85 south, according to an alert issued at 2:37 p.m. The southbound lanes have since opened.
Images from the scene showed the burned remnants of the tractor-trailer.
The fire involved an Old Dominion double tractor-trailer that was carrying a load of resin, paper and rolls of cloth, Orange Rural Deputy Fire Chief Mac Cabe said in a news release.
“The fire started at the truck’s cab after the mattress became lodged under the truck and caught fire,” the news release said.
The fire then continued to the truck’s first trailer.
“Once the highly explosive resin was consumed by the fire, firefighters moved in to extinguish the rest of the fire, which was still burning the load of paper and cloth,” the news release said.
One firefighter suffered minor injuries when removing items coated with resin.
The second incident involved a fire truck that was blocking traffic for the original scene. A driver collided with the fire truck and was taken to Duke Hospital, troopers said.
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