Semis on fire

FIRE: Two semis caught fire Wednesday afternoon on Interstate 80 in the westbound lane at mile marker 413 near Waverly. Personnel from the Waverly, Ashland, Greenwood and Southeast District departments responded to the incident. (Staff Photo by Anna Boggs)

WAVERLY – A collision of two semi tractor/truck trailers on Interstate 80 between mile markers 420 and 409 pushed area fire and rescue teams into action Sept. 25.

According to a Nebraska State Patrol news release, the driver of a semi rear-ended another causing the offending driver’s tractor to catch fire.

One driver was transported to Lincoln for treatment of what the State Patrol called “non-life-threatening conditions.”

The tractor fire then caught both trailers on fire as the tractor burned almost completely to the ground.

The smoke from the fires could be seen from miles away and the smoke prompted law enforcement to shut down the eastbound Interstate 80 traffic for a brief period. Westbound traffic was shut down for several hours.

Waverly Fire Department Chief Rodger Alley said that the call came in around 4 p.m. and he immediately put out a mutual aid alert to other fire and rescue departments in the area for water and manpower.

Traffic on Highway 6 near the entrance and exit ramps to Interstate 80 was brought to a standstill as multiple law enforcement agencies tried to clear the way for emergency services.

Alley said that Waverly was first on scene and immediately began dual fire suppression on both trailers.

By 5 p.m. the fires were mostly extinguished as multiple fire departments converged.

Engines from Ashland, Greenwood and the Southeast district were seen on location.

Long after the crash, traffic patterns along Highway 6 were highly affected as motorists sought to avoid the Interstate.

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