A tractor-trailer on the northbound ramp from Hwy. 61 to I-55 south of Festus caught fire June 13, causing the shutdown of the ramp and Hwy. 61 in both directions, authorities reported.
The Jefferson R-7 Fire District got at 5 a.m. about the big rig fire at exit 170 on I-55, Chief Mark Earls said.
“His brakes overheated and caught the tires on fire and the fire extended to the trailer, burning its contents,” Earls said. “The (refrigerated) trailer contained boxes of candy – Starburst jelly beans and Hubba Bubba gum.”
Earls said the driver was not hurt in the fire.
Before Jefferson R-7 Fire got the call about the blaze, the tractor-trailer had been traveling north on I-55, got off at exit 170, crossed the Hwy. 61 intersection and was stopped on the northbound ramp heading back to I-55, Earls said.
“When we arrived it was about 25 percent involved,” he said. “The trailer and its contents were a total loss. The driver unhooked the tractor and drove away in it.
“While we were there, both directions of Hwy. 61 was closed, until about 7:30 a.m. The northbound ramp to I-55 was closed until about 4 p.m.”
The Crystal City and Festus fire departments and the Hematite, Dunklin, Kinsey (of Ste. Genevieve) fire protection districts helped with the call, and the De Soto Rural moved up to cover the R-7 firehouse, Earls said.