By Veronica Rocha and Matt Hamilton, January 13, 2014
The westbound 10 Freeway in East Los Angeles reopened just before 4:30
p.m. Tuesday, more than five hours after flames engulfed a big-rig and
snarled traffic on both sides of the busy roadway.
County firefighters responded just after 11 a.m. to the burning truck,
which ignited after the driver stopped under the North Eastern Avenue
overpass, about a quarter of a mile west of the 710 Freeway, said county
fire Inspector Rick Flores.
westbound 10 freeway and the Eastern Avenue overpass reopened following
inspection by state engineers, said California Department of
Transportation spokesman Patrick Chandler. Two eastbound lanes had also
been closed but were reopened about 12:30 p.m.
The Campus Road
on-ramp remained closed as hazardous materials crews continued removing
diesel fuel that had leaked from the truck onto the pavement, Chandler
The freeway was not damaged in the blaze, but the overpass
sustained cosmetic damage, Chandler said. Crews will return later to
clean soot from the underside of the bridge.
prompted the hours-long delay was uncertainty over whether the fire was
extinguished. The truck fire was put out promptly, but flames caught at
least some of the wood frame built into the bridge, which was built in
the 1950s, Chandler said.
As traffic backed up more than four
miles into East L.A., the county Fire Department’s Urban Search and
Rescue team drilled holes in the overpass and inserted fiber optic
cameras to determine whether the fire was burning, Flores said.
engineers conducted sound and visual tests on both the westbound 10
Freeway and the overpass, spokeswoman Lauren Wonder said.
It’s unclear what sparked the fire. The California Highway Patrol has launched an investigation into the incident.
The truck was carrying washing machines, TVs and other appliances, Flores said. The driver was uninjured.