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Eastbound 1604 closed for hours after 18-wheeler catches fire

The two men inside the big rig were not injured

SAN ANTONIO – Eastbound Loop 1604 remained closed for hours Saturday after a big rig caught fire causing headaches for drivers.

"It was terrible. It was the access road, the interstate, everything was terrible. When we drove past it, it was a big truck that was caught on fire, just burnt up," said passerby Julia Hunter.

Multiple crews worked to extinguish the fire that engulfed the 18-wheeler carrying 36,000 pounds of lettuce on the city's North Side.

The fire was reported just after 5:15 p.m. along eastbound Loop 1604 between Bulverde and Redland roads.

"All we saw earlier around 7 something was just basically smoke everywhere and we couldn't get up close," Hunter said.

The two men inside the big rig told police they noticed a loose tire and pulled over. When they did, they believe the friction and heat caused the paper the lettuce was wrapped in to catch fire.

"I used to think traffic in Austin was horrible until something like this. The 1604 corridor with all the construction their doing there just not planning on anything, even going to Sea World today it was horrible," said driver Kevin Slaker.

Both men were able to make it out without injuries.

Traffic remains backed up and drivers are asked to avoid the area.