A truck catches fire on Highway 99 Tuesday afternoon.

A truck catches fire on Highway 99 Tuesday afternoon.

Freeway fire engulfs rig in South Surrey

Plumes of black smoke are visible over Morgan Crossing Tuesday afternoon.

Plumes of black smoke filled the skies over Morgan Crossing Tuesday after fire engulfed the cab of a semi-trailer headed south on Highway 99 around 12:45 p.m.

Exactly what caused the fire is unclear, deputy fire Chief Jon Caviglia said, however, there were no reports of injury.

“Lots of fire, but not much story,” Caviglia said the next day.

Onlookers who lined Croydon Drive to get a glimpse of the fire told Peace Arch News they heard several “big booms” and came running to see what had happened.

“We could feel the heat,” said Brian Carse, a South Surrey resident who spotted the smoke from Morgan Crossing.

“I actually shot video when it exploded. A car was driving by just as it blew – it must’ve scared the crap out of them.

“I hope he got out,” Carse said of the driver.

Warren Anderson was on his way to lunch when he heard the noise.

“The battery blew up first, then the tires started exploding,” said Anderson, who manages the Grandview Corners area.

“The flames were probably at first 50 to 60 feet. It’s pretty wild.”

Ian Demrey, a Cloverdale resident, said the rig was smoking when he passed it in the 2600-block of the highway. Demrey described the vehicle, which was pulling a load of cement blocks, as a training tractor.

The sight was one to behold, he said.

“I was like, holy smokes,” Demrey said of his first reaction. “First time I’ve seen a rig burn right down like that.”

Caviglia said firefighters used foam to extinguish the blaze, then pumped fuel out of the rig’s tanks to prevent further problems.

“The tanks had been compromised,” he said.

Emergency crews were on the scene for several hours Tuesday, as southbound traffic slowly maneuvered past.