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Driver of burning big rig on Interstate 8 unharmed

September 12, 2001|By KELLY GRANT, Staff Writer

MOUNTAIN SPRINGS — Interstate 8 east of Mountain Springs Road was closed to traffic much of Tuesday morning and early afternoon after a tractor-trailer rig hit a bridge and caught fire.

The driver of the rig, Bruce Orlando Jensen, 63, of Midvale, Utah, was traveling at a speed of about 55 mph on I-8 as he approached Devil's Canyon Bridge, according to the California Highway Patrol.

For an unknown reason, Jensen allowed his vehicle to run off the road and strike the concrete bridge. The force of the impact pushed the rig toward the roadway, where it lost one of its saddle tanks. The rig then struck the south side of the bridge and caught fire, according to the CHP.

Assisted by an off-duty firefighter from a federal fire department, Jensen was able to exit the vehicle unharmed.

About 260 gallons of diesel fuel spilled onto the road, with most of it burning off during the fire.

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When the Ocotillo Fire Department responded to the scene, the truck was fully aflame. With the help of Imperial County and Boulevard fire departments, the blaze was doused within 30 minutes.

All lanes were reopened to traffic at 1:45 p.m.

The collision is still under investigation.

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