GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - Traffic on Interstate 85 in Gwinnett County is moving again after a semitractor-trailer
caught fire and sparked several brush fires around it.
It happened just before 2:30 p.m. in the southbound lanes of I-85 just north of Hamilton Mill Road
Firefighters said when they arrived at the scene, the tractor-trailer was engulfed in flames along with the eight cars it was hauling.
“There is a possibility there was some kind of mechanical failure that caused the fire to start and if that did, he may not have known his vehicle was on fire until he pulled over to the side of the road,” Gwinnett County Fire Deputy Chief Charles Wells said.
Investigators said due to the dry conditions, fires started along the nearby wood line and the median of the interstate.
A total of 37 fire personnel were called to help battle the flames.
Georgia Forestry personnel were called in along with the Gwinnett County Police Department to help battle the flames. Firefighters say have estimated 110 acres of land burned with no damage to any homes or businesses.
Units from Georgia Forestry brought in three bulldozers to dig a trench to break the fire line.
The incident has closed several lanes of the expressway for several hours Saturday night.
Jim Wilson told Channel 2’s Matt Johnson he was headed to his son-in-law’s wedding in Florida before the fire left him stranded for four hours.
“Traffic came to a halt and then the fire engines came down between us. We knew it was going to be bad,” Wilson said.
Veronica Schoell could only describe her three-hour delay as terrible.
“We've been painting, reading, and playing games, but now it's getting boring,” Schoell said, with her children in the car.
There are no injuries from the incident. Firefighters are using this incident to highlight what can happen as drought conditions continue in north Georgia.
“The Georgia Forestry Commission has placed Georgia under a burning ban because of the drought conditions and we want all Gwinnett County homeowners and residents to abide by those rules right now,” Wells told Johnson.
Firefighters told residents nearby to stay indoors while they worked to get things under control. No home or structures were damaged during the fires.
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