Tire explodes, hits driver’s face in strawberry truck fire

CARLSBAD, Calif. — A semi-truck hauling strawberries caught fire on Interstate 5 in North County Thursday morning.

The truck pulled to the northbound side of I-5 in Carlsbad at Leucadia Boulevard around 5:30 a.m., California Highway Patrol said.

The man driving the semi truck pulled over, got out and went to check on flames coming from his trailer, but one of the tires burst and some of the tire pieces hit him in the face, Encinitas Fire Batt. Chief Mike Spaulding said.

Firefighters rushed to the scene and shut down the two right lanes. The flames had spread from the rear axle to the middle of the trailer, which contained strawberries in plastic boxes, the battalion chief said. The driver had minor injuries to his face and was taken to the hospital by ambulance, officials said.

SkyFOX showed firefighters helping unload boxes of strawberries from the trailer. The driver called his company to send a forklift and flatbed truck to haul the boxes, according to CHP.

Two lanes remained closed until around 7 a.m., with traffic filtering by slowly.

The right two lanes were shut down again at 9:25 a.m. to tow the semi truck off the highway shoulder, CHP Officer Jim Bettencourt said. It was not immediately clear how long the closure would remain in place.

As of 9:50 a.m., traffic on the northbound highway was backed up past Villa De La Valle.

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

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