I-15 big-rig blaze causes major delays

MURRIETA — No injuries were reported after a tractor-trailer combo burst into flames and was fully consumed by the blaze Friday morning, Nov. 22. The fire, which forced CHP to issue a Sig-Alert and caused extensive delays in travel times for area residents and late morning commuters, happened on the southbound side of Interstate 15, near Murrieta Hot Springs Rd.

According to witnesses and a CHP incident log, yesterday morning’s problem possibly began as an electrical fire that erupted in the big-rig’s battery compartment. Even though the semi-truck driver managed to safely pull over to the side of the freeway and extinguish the initial electrical fire, it eventually sparked a blaze that destroyed the truck and trailer, which was empty when the fire erupted.


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CHP and other emergency personnel were first alerted to the fire around 11:10 a.m., after the truck driver and other witnesses called 911 to report that the big-rig was burning.

911 callers reported seeing flames were coming from underneath the cab of the big rig as it was traveling southbound on I-15, and that the truck’s driver eventually pulled to the side of the freeway and was attempting to extinguish the fire.

A big-rig was destroyed by a blaze that reportedly erupted in the truck’s engine compartment. The massive fire forced CHP to issue a Sig-Alert and caused extensive delays in travel times for area commuters.

Moments later, the driver of the rig called 911 to report that his battery compartment had caught fire, but he had managed to douse the flames. The driver also reported he would contact his company and arrange for a wrecker to tow his vehicle.

About ten minutes later, while firefighters and other officials were still responding to the scene, the truck driver updated CHP emergency dispatchers that big-rig had caught fire again and was fully engulfed in flames.

The blaze sent a huge plume of thick, black smoke into the sky and both sides of the freeway soon ground to a near halt, as curious motorists slowed to watch the inferno.

As firefighters worked to extinguish the blaze CHP issued a Sig-Alert and requested Cal-Trans and other officials respond to the scene to assist with traffic control and to assist with cleaning up diesel fuel and other fluids that spilled from the destroyed big-rig.

No injuries were reported and CHP’s investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing.

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Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 48, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, (the now defunct) Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta 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. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s 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 29 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 16 grandchildren.

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