A truck carrying propane and oxygen tanks caught fire Thursday afternoon on Interstate 5 in Seattle, prompting authorities to close all lanes of the freeway while fire crews extinguished the blaze.
The fire started shortly before 1:10 p.m. on the southbound freeway between the Lakeview and Mercer Street exits.
“Tanks are exploding,” the Seattle Fire Department said on Twitter shortly before 2 p.m. “Please avoid the area.”
The northbound lanes reopened at 2:30 p.m., a little more than an hour after the fire was reported. The southbound express lanes opened later in the afternoon, and three other southbound lanes opened in the early evening. Officials opened the remaining southbound lane about 7:30 p.m.
Trooper Rick Johnson of the Washington State Patrol said the driver of the truck carrying the tanks was able to get away safely. No other injuries were reported.
The fire set off a plume of smoke that prompted Seattle’s emergency notification system to warn residents living near southbound I-5 at Lakeview Boulevard East to shut their windows and doors to avoid smoke exposure.
Tom Pearce, spokesperson for the Washington State Department of Transportation, said inspectors found no damage to either the freeway’s steel sign supports or the concrete road decks.
Editor’s note: The video above contains graphic language from an eyewitness.
Seattle Times staff reporter Mike Lindblom contributed to this story.