18-wheeler carrying seafood catches fire on I-10

Viewer submitted photo: Kelley Burrell
Viewer submitted photo: Kelley Burrell

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Diesel burning on the highway, an 18-wheeler in flames, and seafood everywhere. That was the scene on I-10 over the Pascagoula River Bridge in Moss Point just after rush hour Wednesday. Police said it's truly amazing no one was hurt when one trucker's trouble exploded into a very dangerous situation.

Investigators believe the fire started under the truck.

"From what we understand, the drive shaft came loose. And when it came loose, it punctured the fuel tanks and caused it to leak, and caused the fire," Captain Mark Condreay said after examining the truck.

The 18-wheeler was loaded with seafood, which ended up scattered on the highway, along with diesel from the truck. Some of that fuel ended up in the Pascagoula River.

"We lost about 30 to 40 gallons of diesel fuel, which, about 20 gallons of that went into the river. We have Jackson County hazmat teams out putting pads out."

The truck driver was too shaken up to speak on camera, but told Moss Point Police everything was fine when he stopped at the weigh station at the Alabama-Mississippi line. That changed when he got on the long bridge.

"He felt a strong bump and the truck started shaking. And when he looked in his rear view mirror, he saw flames coming up the side of the trailer," Corporal Fred Gaston said. "He said by the time the truck came to a stop, he jumped out just as the flames were beginning to engulf it."

Corporal Fred Gaston with Moss Point Police was the first officer on scene and knew the intense flames made for a very dangerous situation.

"I saw the driver running toward a stopped the truck further ahead of his. As I ran up to make sure he was going to be okay, one of the fuel tanks exploded on the truck, sending the entire cab in flames."

Luckily, no one was hurt, but the mess left behind kept fire and cleanup up crews busy picking up shrimp, cleaning up oil, moving the burned truck off the highway.

"I know we are causing a lot of traffic problems, but I am just glad no one else was hurt and nothing more serious was involved."

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