Smoke from a crashed big rig blows over the Gateway Courtyard shopping center, Monday. (Amy Maginnis-Honey/Daily Republic)

Smoke from a crashed big rig blows over the Gateway Courtyard shopping center, Monday. (Amy Maginnis-Honey/Daily Republic)


Big-rig fire closes eastbound I-80, sends smoke over city

By From page A6 | July 16, 2014

FAIRFIELD — A big-rig fire stalled eastbound traffic on Interstate 80 on Monday afternoon, sending a black swath of smoke over the city as the truck and its cargo burned.

The incident happened behind the Gateway Courtyard shopping center when the big rig ran off the road.

The California Highway Patrol got a call about 3:25 p.m. reporting the fire. The driver managed to get out and only had minor injuries, said CHP Lt. Steve West .

A severe traffic alert was issued at 3:31 p.m. with all lanes closed. Traffic also slowed on the westbound side.

Montana Meyerhoffer, 15, Dakota Meyerhoffer, 16, Cameron Oliver, 15, and Alec Heise, 15, were hanging out at the Second Street park when they saw black smoke fill the sky.

They rode their bikes and scooter across Travis Boulevard and went behind the building that houses Five Guys Burgers and Fries and Barnes and Noble Booksellers.

The four said they arrived before emergency responders and saw flames almost as tall as the building.

“There was black smoke,” Montana Meyerhoffer said. “You could hardly see the building.”

“We heard a big pop,” Oliver said.

Heise grabbed a few pictures on his cellphone before the scene was secured.

“I was worried the guy was dead,” Dakota Meyerhoffer said of the big rig’s driver.

The young men said they had a chance to interact with the driver and described him as having bloodied arms and cut on his face.

Two lanes of traffic were opened about 3:45 p.m. The Travis Boulevard onramp was re-opened shortly before 4 p.m. The fire was reported under control about 4:25 p.m. the right lane remained closed at 4:45 p.m. All lanes were open shortly after 6 p.m.

Five Guys Burgers and Fries was evacuated. Initial reports indicated that Barnes and Noble Booksellers was evacuated, but it was not.

West said driver inattention caused the crash. The big rig veered to the right to avoid hitting slow traffic in front of him, West said.

The crash and its aftermath created a rush-hour backup that by 6 p.m. saw eastbound vehicles lined up over the hill to a point near American Canyon, and spilled freeway traffic onto surface streets in and around Fairfield.

Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.

Amy Maginnis-Honey

Amy Maginnis-Honey

Amy Maginnis-Honey joined the staff of the Daily Republic in 1980. She’ll tell you she was only 3 at the time. Over the past three decades she’s done a variety of jobs in the newsroom. Today, she covers arts and entertainment and writes for the Living and news pages.

Discussion | 4 comments

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  • 2realJuly 15, 2014 - 6:45 am

    One bad driver, and everyone suffers.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • mikeJuly 15, 2014 - 9:16 am

    how many chances are we gonna get to burn down fairfield ? i'm gonna double my fire insurance

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • elleryJuly 15, 2014 - 6:09 pm

    Maybe Fairfield is meant to burn down, and from the ashes we can rebuild our town back to what it should be.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • just sayin'July 15, 2014 - 11:51 am

    There was a wreck on Hiway 80 at the entrance to Vacaville. Traffic was backed-up. Drivers not paying attention ... this is the result. Next time it will be a family of 4 with parents & kids in the car ... PAY ATTENTION. THERE IS NOTHING TO RUSH ABOUT.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
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