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Blaze snarls traffic on I-95

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Firefighters work to extinguish a burning tractor-trailer at about 7 p.m. Tuesday on Interstate 95.

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BY AMELIA HARPER
Staff Writer

Thursday, December 7, 2017

A dinosaur extinction event of sorts occurred Tuesday on Interstate 95 south of Rocky Mount.

A tractor-trailer hauling roughly 35,000 pounds of dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets reportedly headed for Disney World caught fire near the 130 mile-marker of I-95 South about 7 p.m. Tuesday, blocking traffic on a portion of the road for roughly seven hours. All the dinosaurs were destroyed in the blaze, but no humans were injured, said Johnny Baines, chief of the West Mount Fire Department, one of several departments that responded to the fire.

Baines said the wheel bearings on the truck apparently caught fire, igniting the blaze. The driver of the truck was able to disconnect the trailer from the cab of the truck to protect the cab as the trailer became engulfed in flames. Baines said the trailer was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived within minutes of the call.

Several other fire departments also responded to the blaze, including the Coopers Fire Department, the Red Oak Fire Department, the Nashville Fire Department, the Sharpsburg Fire Department and the Silver Lake Fire Department in Wilson. N.C. HIghway Patrol troopers and Nash County deputies helped deal with traffic concerns and the Nash County EMS responded to deal with potential injuries.

It reportedly took more than 40 firefighters almost an hour to contain the fire on the truck. The N.C Forest Service also responded to help deal with numerous grass fires that were started as a result of the blaze.

“There were huge embers coming off the truck and the grass was dry, so we had to put out several grass fires,” Baines said.

Baines said many of the firefighters remained at the scene until about 2 a.m. Wednesday to help clean up the debris. The clean up effort involved five dump trucks and the efforts of Eastern Environmental Management.

“It look a long time to clean up all the dead dinosaurs,” Baines said.

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