Seattle – The southbound lanes of Interstate 5 were closed Thursday afternoon in downtown Seattle after a welder’s vehicle caught fire and began to explode. After a hours-long closure, the highway reopened.
According to the Seattle Fire Department, there were no reports of injuries. It was too soon to know what caused the fire, but officials said they suspected a possible maintenance issue with the truck itself.
All lanes closed around 1:30 p.m. between Mercer and State Route 520. At about 2:30 p.m., the northern lanes reopened.
Express Lanes were closed for several hours but have since reopened to allow southbound traffic to pass through downtown Seattle.
Image credit: Robert Galvin
Authorities said on Friday that a welding truck carrying oxygen, acetylene, propane and an argon cylinder caught fire. Eruptions can be seen for at least 30 minutes.
Just before 4:30 p.m., firefighters said the fire had been put out.
Officials Residents warn Living near I-5 on Lakeview Blvd. e- Close windows and doors to avoid exposure to toxic smoke from fire.
The Mercer Street exit sign was charred and burnt and had to be taken down.
The pavement was also damaged, but was deemed safe enough for drivers to use.
“We had some kind of concrete burn and it’s called lamination work. It just kind of separates and so we need to put some asphalt on that as a temporary patch and then we’ll come back later on a specific date in the evening for a permanent repair,” said Tom Pearce, a spokesperson for the Washington State Department of Transportation. “.
But this was only a temporary fix – WSDOT says some concrete may be loose and work will be scheduled for a more permanent repair.
This will happen in the middle of the night, Pierce said, when it affects fewer people.
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story stated that the tanks contained liquid oxygen as first reported by the Seattle Fire Department. On Friday, the department issued a correction stating that “the truck that caught fire was a welding supply delivery truck carrying oxygen, acetylene and propane in addition to an argon cylinder. The oxygen was not liquid.” The story has been updated.