A semi hauling a
hazardous corrosive material caught fire early this morning on I-94 just
east of Ind. 149, closing the interstate in both directions between Ind. 49
and Ripley Street in Lake Station, the Indiana State Police said.
police, shortly after 5 a.m. trucker Robert W. Hoffman, 65, of Lincoln,
Neb., was westbound on I-94 when something about his rig felt “not right.”
Hoffman--who was hauling an unspecified corrosive material--pulled over to
the shoulder, at which time he discovered that his tractor’s back tandems
Both the tractor
and the trailer rapidly became engulfed, police said.
The Portage Fire
Department responded to the scene, learned that the corrosive
chemical--which police said was properly placarded on the semi--has an
evacuation radius which included the Ameriplex Center to the north, and duly
notified businesses at the Ameriplex to be prepared to evacuate if
motorists on eastbound I-94 were diverted at Ripley Street, those westbound
at Ind. 49.
The PFD was able to
contain and then extinguish the fire, no evacuations were ultimately
necessary, and all lanes of traffic were re-opened at 9:15 a.m., police
Hoffman was driving
for Nebraska Atlantic Transportation of Gretna, Neb., and was en route for
Bensenville, Ill., from East Hartford, Conn., police said.