BROOKINGS – A semi caught fire and backed up traffic on Interstate 29 on Tuesday, causing nearly $100,000 in damage, according to the Brookings County Sheriff’s Office and Brookings Fire Department.
The fire was reported at 10:35 a.m. Tuesday and occurred near mile marker 143 on I-29, Assistant Sheriff Scott Sebring said.
The driver got out unharmed, Fire Chief Darrell Hartmann said.
The driver was southbound on I-29, driving a 2007 Peterbilt semi-tractor that was pulling a 2006 grain pup trailer, Sebring said.
“The trailer was fully loaded with grain. The damage to the tractor, trailer and loss of the grain is estimated at $70,000 to $80,000. The road received some $4,000 worth of damage,” Sebring said.
“The driver noticed smoke coming from the rear side tires on the tractor. The driver pulled over and found that the rear tires were on fire and the fire spread to the trailer. It is believed that a malfunction in the rear brakes was the cause of the fire,” Sebring said.
“With the wind being out of the west, it actually did severe damage, not only to the tractor but to the trailer,” Hartmann said. “The driver-side tires blew off the rim and actually blocked the interstate for us, so they were laying there burning.”
The fire department had two command vehicles, three pumpers and one of their tenders, Hartmann said.
“We kept everyone else back in town in case there’s another call. Being at the 144, we’re out there quite a ways,” he said.
He asked that drivers who come up on a scene realize that emergency crews need space to work for safety reasons and drivers should obey the officials trying to re-route traffic out of the area for their own well-being.
His crews were at the scene until 2 p.m., then had to run back out.
“We had to go back out later that afternoon and pick all our signs and cones up. DOT was there and helped quite a bit, which is very nice,” Hartmann said.
Also responding were the Deuel County Sheriff’s Office and Brookings Police Department, Sebring said.