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Crash Shuts Down I-55 Lanes

Firefighters battled flaming hot Cheetos for several hours after an 18-wheeler loaded with chips struck a bridge early Sunday morning on I-55. The driver was not seriously injured.

OAKLAND – The southbound lanes on I-55 were shut down over eight hours Sunday morning after an 18-wheeler struck a bridge south of Oakland. Yalobusha County EMA Director Dalton Coleman reported the wreck occurred at 1:11 a.m. Sunday morning and firefighters initially battled the blazing cargo inside the trailer for almost two hours.
The truck was hauling boxes of Cheetos that fueled an intense fire that proved difficult to extinguish.
“It gives a whole new meaning to flaming hot Cheetos,” Coleman said. “It smelled like a baked potato that someone put in the oven and forgot.”
The driver sustained minor injuries and was treated on the scene by the Yalobusha General Hospital’s ambulance crew. They remained on the scene for several hours in case of heat-related issues as firefighters battled the blaze on a hot summer night.
“The truck driver was very lucky, if he had veered off the road seconds earlier he could have ended up on the railroad tracks below. He hit the bridge railing hard and walked away.”
Coleman said deputies were on the scene until around 10 a.m. to block traffic that was diverted to Highway 51 during the closure.
“We were out there so long the sheriff’s department had to do a shift change on the interstate so the guys on duty could go home,” the EMA director added.
Oakland and Tillatoba fire department responded with two pumpers and two tankers, along with the county’s rescue truck.
In an update to supervisors during Monday’s budget meeting, Coleman reported that the Tillatoba Fire Department is the next department in the county’s rotation to receive a new fire truck to replace a 2003 model.
The purchase could come in the next year, and Coleman said it would be beneficial to equip the new truck with a foam induction system that would be more effective when extinguishing vehicle fires. Tillatoba and Oakland fire departments respond to the majority of wrecks on I-55.

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