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Truck Fire Paralyzes North 5 at Crown Valley

Diesel fuel spills after a Canadian driver sees flames on the fuel tanks of his big rig. The truck goes up in smoke during rush hour in Mission Viejo.

Traffic backed up for miles and smoke blackened the sky during the Friday afternoon rush hour after the fuel tanks of a big rig caught fire along the north 5 Freeway, spilling diesel fuel. No one was seriously injured.

A Canadian driver saw fire on his fuel tank and pulled over beneath the Crown Valley Parkway overpass around 5:15 p.m.

"He told me something was smelling inside," said Sikhdeeb Sandhu, who was seated in the truck while his brother-in-law drove.

"He saw fire on the fuel tanks."

Sandhu said the truck was otherwise empty. The two men from Mississauga, Ontario, were driving from San Diego to Oxnard.

The Canadians' passports and wallets were destroyed in the flames as two 150-gallon saddle tanks of diesel fuel burned, said California Highway Patrol Sgt. Chris Johnson.

A SigAlert was declared at 5:15 p.m. and, about half an hour later, CHP units called for a fuel spill cleanup. All traffic lanes but one were closed at 6:30 p.m.

Workers began removing the melted frame of the truck from the street around 7 p.m.

"The metal grate melted, fused into the ground," worker Mark Sashlenou said, pointing to the truck frame covered in ash. The smell of diesel fuel carried at leasts 100 yards away.

The ground where the truck frame burned was still hot at 7:15 p.m., Sashlenou said.

The spilled diesel fuel will be cleaned by a CalTrans contractor, Johnson said.

V. Duvall September 29, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Very interesting....
Stefanie Fryover September 29, 2012 at 05:48 PM
During rush hour too....
Kathi September 29, 2012 at 10:52 PM
Yeah, wonder what kind of plates the truck has on it & who it is registered to? & seems like most guys have their wallets in their pants pocket or at least very close to hand. I would think that in a case like this, they would at least grab them & their passports as they were quickly exiting. Are they verifying their identity w the Canadian consulate & all? Would think they would need to check in w them if they are Canadian citizens to get new papers, or check w the consulate for where ever their citizenship is, as well as ICE.
J S October 09, 2012 at 03:53 PM
Unfortunately, the CalTrans contractor took hours to get there to do hazmat clean up.
J S October 09, 2012 at 03:55 PM
Anaheim-Fullerton Towing provided excellent response time to the accident scene.

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