Fiery crash involving 18-wheeler closes I-35 South at Loop 1604

Cleanup expected to take hours; expect massive delays, use alternate route

By Katrina Webber - Crime Fighters Reporter , Ben Spicer - Web Producer , David Ibanez - Web - Managing Editor , Josh Skurnik - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - The exit ramp from Interstate 35 South to Loop 1604 remained closed Thursday afternoon after an 18-wheeler crashed and burst into flames.

But two left lanes and the access road are open.

Crews were working on moving the burned shell from the interstate, but they first need to remove the contents from the trailer, authorities said.

Shortly before 5 a.m., the big rig driver hit the median, which caused the gas tank to rupture and catch fire, authorities said.

The 18-wheeler was carrying metal car parts, but wood pallets, cardboard boxes and plastic bindings holding auto and machine parts continued to smolder after the main fire was extinguished, officials said.

"The pallets caused a lot of problems because of the weight, trying to get them separated and what not," Capt. Loren Kuhlmann of the Live Oak Fire Department said. "I mean, there's a lot of damage done."

The driver and a passenger were transported to Northeast Methodist Hospital, where they were treated and released.

Police said motorists can expect massive backups in traffic and advise using an alternate route, such as FM 3009 west to Nacogdoches Road from Interstate 35. Another possible alternate route would be taking Retama Parkway to Lookout Road.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

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