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Semi fully loaded with used clothes catches fire, closes I-70 at Vail Pass overnight

Posted: 1:37 PM, Nov 12, 2016
Updated: 2016-11-12 15:37:55-05
Semi fire closes I-70 at Vail pass overnight
Semi fire closes I-70 at Vail pass overnight
Semi fire closes I-70 at Vail pass overnight
Semi fire closes I-70 at Vail pass overnight

VAIL PASS, Colo. -- Firefighters worked through the night to contain a semi truck fire on westbound I-70 that started when the brakes overheated. 

Vail firefighters responded to mile marker 181 at around 9:30 p.m.  after getting reports of a semi truck on fire.

When they first got to the scene, they saw “a large body of fire in the trailer spreading into the adjacent vegetation,” a Vail Fire Department spokesperson told Denver7.

The small brush fire on the side of the road was quickly contained and the fire did not spread to the cab of the truck and the fuel tanks.

As they worked to put out the flames, firefighters noticed the semi was fully loaded with large bales of used clothing.

In order to extinguish the fire, firefighters had to remove each bale of clothing from the truck and tear it apart to put out the flames.

(Photo: Crews work to clean up large bales of used clothing on Vail Pass)

It took nearly 30 minutes for crews to stop the blaze, but the entire load of cargo was not removed until 4 a.m., according to the spokesperson.

“We were very fortunate that this occurred at night because if this had occurred on a dry windy day, we would have also had to contend with a wildland fire,” said Lieutenant Jacob Savona.

Westbound I-70 traffic was detoured at Copper Mountain at mile marker 195 throughout the night. The road was partially re-opened at approximately 6 a.m. Saturday.

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