Duneland firefighters responded to a truck fire on I-94 in Porter early this
morning which forced the closure of the westbound lanes until well into the
rush-hour commute, the Indiana State Police said.
According to police, at 4:51 a.m. Mijalce Karanakov, 55, of Crown Point, was
westbound on I-94, pulling an empty box trailer owned by UPS, when for
unknown reasons he swerved right as the lanes were shifting to the left.
“This area is a well-marked construction zone with lanes that jog in
different directions,” police said.
Failing to negotiate the jog in the right lane, Karanakov swerved right and
hit an impact attenuator located on the outer shoulder, then scraped against
the outer barrier wall, until sliding across two lanes of westbound traffic
and striking the concrete barrier wall on the inside shoulder, police said.
The impact caused his Volvo semi and box trailer to burst into flames.
Karanakov himself safely exited the cab and was not injured, police said,
while the UPS trailer was empty, as he’d delivered his load earlier in
Lavonia, Mich., and was now en route to his terminal. Karanakov was issued a
citation for unsafe lane movement, police said.
Responding to the scene was the Porter Fire Department, with assistance from
the Chesterton and Burns Harbor FDs and the Liberty Township Volunteer FD on
standby at its own station, Porter Deputy Fire Chief Jay Craig told the
Chesterton Tribune today.
Firefighters used around 3,000 gallons of waters to douse the blaze, Craig
said, and the PFD was on the scene for nearly two hours, until 7 a.m.
All lanes both westbound and eastbound were closed after the crash for
firefighting, police said. The eastbound lanes were then re-opened but
westbound lanes remained closed until 7:50 a.m., with traffic being diverted
off I-94 at Ind. 49 in Chesterton.
Also on the scene, police said: the Porter Police Department, Joe’s Towing,
and the Indiana Department of Transportation.