INTERSTATE 85 TRACTOR TRAILER FIRE
(Norcross, Ga., February 1, 2020) – Firefighters responded to a report of a multi-vehicle accident with tractor-trailer fire on Interstate 85 NB between Jimmy Carter Boulevard and Pleasantdale Road in Norcross. Gwinnett County 911 received multiple calls regarding an accident that was on Interstate 85.
Crews arrived on scene and found one tractor-trailer fully involved in flames along with a passenger vehicle. Interstate 85 NB was completely consumed by fire across all lanes of traffic. Additional responding crews made access from Dawson Boulevard to begin assessing the situation. Immediate requests for Gwinnett Fire’s Hazardous Materials Response Team and assistance from Dekalb County Fire Rescue’s Hazmat Team were made along with notifications to Georgia DOT. While additional crews were arriving and responding to the scene, flammable liquids from the trailer were spilling into the storm drains on the side of Interstate 85 NB. The flammable liquids flowed underneath the Southbound lanes Interstate 85 and came to a stop on Crescent Drive near Ole Mexican Foods. Subsequent explosions were seen and heard as the fuel ignited and smoke and flames billowed from manhole covers in the area. All traffic on Interstate 85, Crescent Drive and Dawson Boulevard was stopped in all directions. First responders, fire and law enforcement, began quickly evacuating people to the access roads from their vehicles on Interstate 85. Numerous businesses along Dawson Boulevard for evacuated as precaution due to the vicinity to the incident.
Gwinnett Fire Officials made the strategic decision to allow the fuel to burn and control the fires along Crescent Drive. The application of water or firefighting foam may have caused additional runoff concerns and allowed the ignited fuel to travel a greater distance underground. While the fire burned on the Interstate, crews controlled brush fires along Crescent Drive that involved a utility pole and caused a power outage in the area. Once the majority of the fuel had burned off, 100 gallons of firefighting foam was applied to completely smother the flames and bring the incident under control.
Due to the complexity of the incident and being on the Gwinnett/Dekalb county lines, multiple agencies worked in unison to bring the incident under control. The tractor-trailer was reportedly carrying 8,500 gallons of fuel including 7,500 gallons of gasoline and 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel. Two fatalities were recovered from the burned out shells of the vehicles. Gwinnett County Police is leading the accident investigation. Georgia DOT and H.E.R.O Units are providing traffic control and assessing damage to the roadway. The EPA and Georgia EPD along with hazmat clean-up companies are on scene and evaluating the environmental impact. Gwinnett County Department of Water Resources has crews on the scene evaluating a broken water main on Crescent Drive. Interstate 85 NB will continue to be affected throughout the day as repairs are being made to the roadway. Continue to monitor Facebook and Twitter for updates from Gwinnett Fire.
EQUIPMENT AT THE SCENE INCLUDED: 6-Engines, 3-Ladder Trucks, 1-Squad, 1-Hazmat, 1-Water Tender, 1-Rehab Unit, 3-Medic Unit, 1-Medical Supervisor, 2-Battalion Chiefs, 1- District Commander, 1-Fire Investigator and 2-PIOs.