Truck carrying strawberries catches fire on north I-5 near Leucadia

Two lanes of northbound Interstate 5 in Encinitas were blocked early Thursday after a semi truck carrying cases of strawberries caught fire, the California Highway Patrol reported.

The fire was reported shortly after 5:30 a.m. on north I-5 just south of Leucadia Boulevard. The driver of the truck was transported to the hospital with injuries suffered in the fire, the CHP reported.

The man driving the semi truck pulled over, got out and went to check on the flames, but one of the rear tires burst and some of the tire pieces hit him in the face, Encinitas Fire Battalion Chief Mike Spaulding said. The driver was taken to a hospital for treatment of minor lacerations to his face, Spaulding said.

The two right-hand lanes of the freeway were blocked and a flatbed truck was summoned so the truck could be unloaded. Traffic on the freeway in both directions was backed up in the area. The lanes reopened around 7:10 a.m.

The right two lanes will have to be shut down again to tow the semi truck, said CHP Officer Tommy Doerr. He did not have an estimate of when a truck would arrive.

Drivers heading south on Interstate 15 near El Norte Parkway in the Escondido area also found slow speeds Thursday morning after an early morning crash involving a car that caught on fire. The incident was reported around 4:20 a.m. Emergency crews had the far right lane of the freeway blocked for about an hour, according to the CHP.

City News Service contributed to this report.

May 16, 2019 9:13 AM - This article was updated with information from the California Highway Patrol and Encinitas Fire Department.

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