EVERETT, Wash. — A load of hay bales that was being carried by a semi-truck burned for hours along northbound Interstate 5 in Everett Thursday, closing lanes and backing up traffic for miles.
The two right northbound lanes were blocked south of the State Route 99/526/527 interchange from about 7 a.m. until around noon. At one point, the slowdown caused traffic to back up for five miles.
Fire crews worked for hours to douse the flames, but the size of the truck’s load and its contents made the fire difficult to put out.
Video from the Washington State Department of Transportation showed smoke billowing across the lanes of the freeway.
Washington State Patrol Trooper Kelsey Harding said the fire kept reigniting because of its large fuel source. To complicate matters there was no water source at the scene, so firefighters had to truck it to the location.
#update Due to a large fuel source the fire keeps reigniting. There is no water source at the scene so fire has to truck it in. If you are looking for alternate routes exit to 128th St SE and use either Evergreen Way or SR 527. Crews are working diligently to get road reopened.— Trooper Kelsey Harding (@wspd7pio) March 2, 2023
By 9:30 a.m., there was a large response with multiple vehicles as firefighters continued to work the fire. Crews used machinery to pull apart the load of hay to help stop the fire, which continued to smoke.
By 10:15 a.m., a pile of hay that was pulled onto the highway was still smoldering, along with hay bales still stacked on the truck. Shortly after, a track hoe began loading the pile of hay on the road into a truck.
At about 1:20 p.m., crews were called back to the scene when the smoldering hay caught fire a second time, blocking two lanes of traffic.
#Update The two right lanes are blocked again for the semi trailer fire. The hay began to smolder and fire is back on scene. The two left lanes are open to all traffic at this time.— Trooper Kelsey Harding (@wspd7pio) March 2, 2023
6TH UPDATE | NB I-5 SEMI-TRUCK FIRE IN #Everett— WSDOT Traffic (@wsdot_traffic) March 2, 2023
We greatly appreciate your patience, folks.
Emergency crews are working on removing the hay right now. No estimated time for reopening lanes, but we're making progress.
Two lanes of NB I-5 just south of SR 526 remain blocked! pic.twitter.com/jf2kMQWB0Q
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