ST. GEORGE — A semitractor-trailer hauling apple puree caught fire in Washington City just after midnight on Tuesday.

While traveling northbound on I-15 at approximately 12:20 a.m., the driver of the semi noticed he was losing power, Washington City Fire Department Capt. Julio Reyes told St. George News.

He was going to pull over at this point, but the traffic was too heavy near Exit 10, so he kept going, the driver later told firefighters. A couple of miles up the road, he pulled over, got out and checked everything. While said he smelled something funny, he couldn’t see any issues or smoke, so he got back on the road and continued driving, Reyes said.

But as he continued, other drivers flagged him down because they saw smoke.

The semi driver reportedly said about 25% of the trailer was completely ruined, and he didn’t think he could salvage the apple purée.

When crews arrived, there was a small fire near the wheels, and the driver had separated his cab from the trailer, Reyes said.

“I would say the takeaway would be if we’re driving a vehicle — no matter what — if something feels unusual, don’t delay, pull over immediately,” Reyes said. “Either have somebody come meet you to look at it or find a safe spot to pull off the road where you can check it out because this just proved it may have saved everything. It may have saved a lot of damage if he was able to pull over immediately versus continue on.”

Reyes said that the Washington City Fire Department was the only agency that responded to the incident.

This report is based on preliminary statements from law enforcement officials and may not contain the full scope of findings.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2024, all rights reserved.