|Spectacular Fire Closes Hwy 17S for 5.5 Hours (PHOTOS)|
|Written by Brenda Grundt|
|Thursday, 06 June 2013 07:19|
Just after 1 this morning, members of the Superior East - Wawa OPP Detachment, Algoma EMS and Wawa Fire Fighters were called to a tractor trailer that was ablaze, 40 kilometres south of Wawa at Mijinemungshing Lake. A northbound transport had struck a moose, and during the collision, fuel tanks were ruptured and a fire began.
The driver and passenger of the transport had escaped from their vehicle with nothing but the clothes they were wearing, and watched from a safe distance as the transport burned. Firefighters used Wajax pumps to take water from beside the highway.
As the fire continued to burn, the front grill, a exhaust stack and sometimes the door could be seen silihouetted by the flames. Occasionally a quick series of pops could be heard from where we were taking pictures about a kilometre away. Long lenses and many pixels (for cropping later) allowed us to capture the blaze without jeopardy.
Standing there, other transport drivers revealed that this transport was carrying a mixed load of goods for Purolator, in this case, ammunition and fireworks. Just after that revelation, the fire reached the lifts of fireworks! Now there were louder pops, and a spectacular display of fireworks began. A couple here, a few there... Most of the fireworks reached straight for the sky. However, several headed towards Mijin Lake, and others must have given the firefighters quite a start as they detonated just above the fire trucks, and in one case almost seemed to strike the truck.
As the blaze finally began to die, the wreckage of the transport was revealed in the light of dawn. There appeared to be absoloutely nothing left of the truck but a skeleton and debris.
At 6:30 a.m. Wawa-news heard that the southbound lane had been opened to travel. OPP officers are conducting traffic, alternating north and southbound traffic around the remains of the transport.
Wawa-news is not sure how the transport will be removed, but most likely it will remain there for a time to cool before being loaded up for removal. Until the transport is removed, and the pavement underneath examined for damage and subsequent repairs - there are certain to be traffic delays.
Wawa-news would caution drivers to be extra careful, especially at dawn and dusk. There were two moose involved in vehicle collisions last night. Wawa-news saw 5 moose this morning, 4 on the way to the fire, and one crossed directly in front of the truck as we went back to Wawa. The moose involved in this collision died in the blaze.