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Truck fire, spill slow traffic on interstate

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Traffic passes slowly as emergency personnel stand by at the scene of a semi tractor-trailer fire on Interstate 57 near Mattoon on Thursday.

MATTOON (JG-TC) -- Traffic in the northbound lanes of Interstate 57 just south of Mattoon was slowed and limited to one lane much of Thursday as crews dealt with a truck fire and a hazardous material spill.

A tire on a tractor-trailer caught fire and it then spread to the point that the truck's entire trailer was almost destroyed, according to Denny Wilson, chief with the Lincoln Fire Protection District.

Then, a second tractor-trailer hauling Formaldehyde stopped abruptly because of traffic conditions, causing it to spill a small part of its load just south of the location of the fire, according to Illinois State Police.

The incident began about 10:45 a.m. Thursday and crews were at the scene until just before 3 p.m., Wilson said.

State police said the Formaldehyde spilled on the truck and on the roadway. Formaldehyde is a corrosive and requires evacuation of only the area directly around the scene of the spill, and hazardous materials crews were called to the scene to handle the spill, state police indicated.

Wilson said the truck that caught fire was hauling plastic containers and the driver had the trailer detached from the truck by the time fire crews arrived. The driver wasn't injured, he said.

The fire was out in about 30 minutes and fire crews then stood by while the trailer's contents were unloaded in case there were hidden fires discovered in the debris, but none were found, Wilson said.

No additional information on the Formaldehyde spill was available Thursday.

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