St. Andrews, SC (Paul Kirby) – A wreck that ruptured the saddle fuel tanks on a tractor trailer truck caused a complete shutdown of I-20 around 3:00 a.m. Mondaymorning. The crash was caused by what 911 operators were describing to responders as a, “wrong way driver,” that collided with the truck head on causing the entire tangled mess to then burst into flames. That cause of the wreck has not yet been independently confirmed by the SCHP.
This all happened on I-20 between the 63 and 64 mile markers. The flaming pile of twisted steel closed the interstate completely for a short while as fire crews from the Irmo Fire District, the City of Columbia FD, and Lexington County all battled the blaze.
Although the scene was under the control of a command officer from the Irmo Fire District, they had established a unified command between all departments and law enforcement agencies on the scene, and were working together to quickly mitigate the emergency. They had several pumpers, as well as Rescue 2 of Columbia on scene, and were also using Engine 30 out of Lexington County’s Corley Mill station. They had even requested a tanker truck that carries additional water respond from the county’s Red Bank facility. These are typically used in more rural areas, but are sometimes needed on the interstate where fire hydrants aren’t always accessible.
The west bound lanes of I-20 were reopened at about 4:36 a.m.; however it may be some time before I-20 is opened on the east bound side. Troopers are on the scene and dealing with the traffic now to establish an appropriate detour if the lanes aren’t cleared by the time the morning commute begins to intensify.
We will keep you up to date as the morning, and the flow of information, progresses.