RICHMOND (CBS SF) — An 8,000 gallon tanker truck caught fire on I-80 near Hilltop Drive Saturday afternoon, triggering a shelter-in-place order for nearby Richmond neighborhoods and a traffic nightmare in the westbound lanes well into the evening hours.
The blaze was reported shortly before 11 a.m., when flames were seen coming from the engine compartment of the double-tanker on westbound I-80 near Hilltop Drive.
A Sig-alert was issued about 11 a.m. The freeway was closed in both directions starting at Hilltop Drive.
The eastbound lanes of I-80 reopened to traffic shortly after 2 p.m., but all westbound lanes did not reopen until 10:45 p.m. The shelter-in-place order was lifted at 7 p.m.
Officials said it appeared the incident began when a motorcycle merging onto the freeway at the Hilltop Drive on-ramp lost control and spun out. The motorcycle was caught under the truck trailer and dragged onto the shoulder where the truck’s engine compartment caught fire.
Remarkably, neither the motorcyclist nor the truck driver was injured, according to the CHP.
The CHP is investigating but alcohol and drugs are not believed to be factors in the crash.
The Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office earlier had issued an evacuation order for the Fairmede Hilltop and Rollingwood Hills Memorial Park neighborhood of Richmond. The evacuation order was downgraded to a shelter-in-place a few minutes later.
Residents in those areas were allowed to return home but were asked to go inside and close all windows and doors, according to an alert posted on the Contra Costa County Communty Warning System site.
Information about the shelter in place can be found at http://cwsalerts.com
PLEASE AVOID THE AREA-Tanker truck fire between the Hilltop Mall and El Portal westbound lanes of I-80. Avoid Hilltop Mall, Shane Drive, and Rollingwood area. Use alternate routes. pic.twitter.com/F4IR4ACmcL
— Richmond Police, CA (@RPDCAOnline) October 24, 2020
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