Big-rig transporting cheese erupts into fondue inferno

Today’s lighter side of the news…

(If you consider yourself a turophile, make sure to see if you are familiar with all 20+ varieties of cheese in this report and make sure to check the full list of referenced cheeses at the bottom of the page.)

SUN VALLEY — Fire officials found themselves in a sticky situation when they responded to reports of a tractor-trailer that smashed into a Gouda-rail and burst into flames on the southbound 5 Freeway near Penrose Street in Sun Valley.

When firefighters arrived they found a Muenster-sized blaze. Loudlabs News photo

CHP, Los Angeles Fire Department and other emergency first responders were dispatched to the fiery wreck shortly before 3:45 a.m., after the truck driver called 911 to report the crash and fire. Area residents also called 911 after they hUrdă loud crash, followed by what sounded like several explosions.

When they arrived at the scene officials found flaming de-Brie spread across all southbound lanes of the freeway. The mangled big-rig and trailer were also burning and flames were spreading to nearby vegetation.

While firefighters Caerphilly worked to extinguish the blaze, a river of molten-cheesy lava was seen flowing down the freeway. Despite their best efforts the blaze continued growing and was quickly hotter than a bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. The trailer’s contents were soon reduced to a fondue inferno and both the truck and trailer were eventually destroyed by the fire.

CHP investigated the cause of the cheesy dilemma and interviewed the truck driver and other witnesses who saw the crash.

The cheese-hauling trucker explained to officers he did not want to get caught in another speed Trappista so he had not been Rushan to get to his destination after leaving Port.

The driver explained he was cruising along in a Caravane of other trucks and listening to R-n-Brie on the tape Ricotta when the music possibly lulled him to sleep. The truck then drifted off the freeway and plowed into a guard rail which the driver later said was like hitting a Brick wall.

A river of molten-cheesy lava flows down the freeway while firefighters battled the blaze. Loudlabs News photo

As he was recovering from the impact, the driver began to smell smoke – something scarier to a cheese-hauler than a load full of Limburger. He grabbed a cellphone he kept just in Queso emergencies and leaped down the big-rig’s Steirerkäse.

As the driver called 911 he noticed the sky, which moments earlier was darker than a Colorado Blackie, was soon filled with a bright orange glow from the raging fire. Unlike an Orda-nary fire, the cheese-fueled blaze was like a growing Muenster and quickly turned the trailer into Swiss cheese. Within minutes the relieved trucker heard the sound of approaching Sirene.

Even though he looked Oka, the driver was eventually transported to an area hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

The crash and fire caused all southbound I-5 lanes to be temporarily closed and traffic was diverted off the freeway at Lankershim Boulevard and the detour created a traffic nightmare for morning commuters.

When later asked about the fiery wreck, the driver admitted that the accident at first left him Ädelost for words and he was still Grevé-ing the loss of his truck. But in spite of the accident, he said, “My truck and trailer were a total loss, but Hellim Fynbo-y! At least I survived.”

Writer’s note: This Quark-ie story, while based on a real incident that occurred Jan. 26 in Sun Valley, is meant for entertainment purposes only and some of the quotes and cheesy “facts” were pure figments of my Brie-diculous imagination.


Click any image to open full-size gallery.

Cheese Glossary

Ädelost – A blue cheese with a sharp, salty flavor that is made from pasteurized cow’s milk. It has a light cream color with evenly distributed blue-gray veins and a slightly moldy rind.

Brick – Made in Wisconsin and prepared in brick-shaped form, this medium-soft cheese ranges from pale yellow to white and crumbles easily. It has a sweet and mild flavor when young and ages into a strong, ripe cheese.

Brie – Named after the French region from where it originated, Brie is a soft, cow’s-milk cheese that is pale in color with a slight grayish tinge under a rind of white mold. The rind is typically eaten, with its flavor depending largely upon the ingredients used and its manufacturing environment.

Caerphilly – This is a hard, crumbly white cheese thought to have been created to provide food for local coal miners around the town of Caerphilly, Wales.

Caravane – A camel milk cheese produced in Mauritania. The milk used to make the cheese is collected from the local animals of nomadic herdsmen. It is very difficult to produce, but yields a cheese that is very low in lactose. Because of regulatory concerns over the use of camel milk, caravane is primarily sold where it is made as well as neighboring Senegal.

Chhena – Fresh, un-ripened curd cheese made from water buffalo milk. The crumbly and moist form of soft, creamy cheese is used to make sweet desserts such as rasgulla – small balls of Chhena rolled in semolina and boiled in light sugar syrup.

Colorado Blackie – A cheese from the American West that belongs to the Cheddar family. Named for its black waxed rind, this new American classic resembles Vermont State cheese, although it is flatter.

Fynbo – A semi-hard Danish cheese named after the island of Fyn, this cheese is processed with a combination of mesophilic and thermophilic bacterial cultures. Very similar in flavor to Gouda and Monterey Jack with a flavor of buckwheat, Fynbo has a smooth, cream color and a natural, golden exterior.

Gouda – A mild, yellow cheese made from cow’s milk in the Netherlands. As it ages, Gouda develops a caramel sweetness and has a slight crunchiness from cheese crystals, which increase in number as the cheese ages.

Grevé – A semi-hard Swedish cheese made from cow’s milk. This cream-colored cheese has a smooth and creamy texture with large holes and has a mild and nutty taste. It contains 30-40% fat and takes a full 10 months to fully age.

Hellim – Also known as Halloumi, this Cypriot is a semi-hard, un-ripened, brined cheese made from a mixture of goat and sheep milk, and sometimes also cow milk. It has a high melting point and tends to retain its shape under direct heat, so it can be easily fried or grilled.

Limburger – This cheese, which is best known for its pungent odor caused by the bacterium Brevibacterium linens, originated in the historical Duchy of Limburg – which is now divided between Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands.

Muenster – This semi-soft cheese from the United States is often thought to be an imitation of the Alsatian washed-rind Munster cheese, introduced by German immigrants.

Oka – This fancy variety of soft molded cheeses is flat and circular and has a distinct flavor and aroma similar to that of Brie, but with a waxier texture. Oka was originally manufactured by the Trappist monks in Oka, Quebec, Canada.

Orda – Also known as Urdă, this Hungarian cheese is only made during summer in the North Pindos region of Greece. This semi-hard cheese is made from whey of sheep, goat or cow milk, has a smooth texture and is especially rich in fat.

Port wine – This orange and/or red-colored cheese is heavily dosed with alcoholic port wine as it is made and is typically used as a cheese spread on foods such as crackers. It can be rolled into a cylindrical shape or into a ball, and is sometimes covered in crushed walnuts.

Ricotta – This Italian whey cheese is made from sheep, cow, goat, or Italian water buffalo milk whey, which is left over from the production of other cheese.

Rushan – Traditionally made by the Bai people of Yunnan, China, Rushan is made from cow’s milk and is flat with a leathery texture. Often served by street vendors, this cheese can be served fried or grilled and rolled around a stick and is usually spread with various sweet condiments.

Sirene – A type of brine cheese made of goat milk, sheep milk, cow’s milk or a combination of milks. Made in South-Eastern Europe, this cheese is slightly crumbly with a grainy texture and a fat content of about 30–35%.

Steirerkäse – This spicy, sour-milk cheese with only .5% fat has its origins in the mountain pastures of the Styrian Enns. The crumbly cheese is salted and peppered and produced using traditional recipes.

Swiss – Mainly of North American manufacture and resembling Emmental, a yellow, medium-hard cheese that originated in the area around Emmental, Switzerland. Some types of Swiss cheese have a distinctive appearance, as the blocks are riddled with holes known as “eyes.”

Trappista – A traditional Hungarian, Bosnian and Serbian semi-hard cow’s-milk cheese. It has a mild flavor and melts easily.

Quark – This fresh, un-ripened cheese has a smooth texture and is a type of fresh dairy product made by warming soured milk until it curdles and then straining it. The soft, white cheese usually has no salt added and can be classified as a fresh acid-set cheese.


Contact the writer:

Trevor Montgomery, who recently moved from Riverside County to Shasta County, runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for Riverside County based newspapers Valley News, The Valley Chronicle and Anza Valley Outlook as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident.

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations, including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center and Lake Elsinore Station, along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 27 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and has 13 children and 14 grandchildren.