MANCHESTER>> Authorities say there were no injuries after a semi-trailer caught fire on Route 7 late Thursday night.

A section of highway was closed for several hours after a tractor unit's brakes caught fire, which in turn caused the trailer's wooden cargo to erupt in flames, according to Manchester Fire Chief Phil "Grub" Bourne.

The Manchester Fire Department responded to a call of a tractor trailer fire on Route 7 at about 11:30 p.m. Thursday night, Bourne said. The unit was fully involved when firefigthers arrived. Firefighters knocked down the fire with water and finished it off with firefighting foam.

Bourne said the male driver is believed to have been driving down the steep incline of Route 30 towards the Route 7 interchange when the truck's brakes overheated. At some point after merging south onto Route 7, the heat from the brakes caused the trailer's tires to catch fire. The flames from the tires then spread to the trailer's cargo, which Bourne said was a load of timber products.

The driver, whose identity was not available, disconnected his tractor-unit from the trailer, escaping injury.

Once the fire was controlled, Bourne said, Joe Miles of R.K. Miles provided a boom truck that was used to lift the wreckage onto a flatbed trailer. Authorities cleared the scene at about 4 a.m. Route 7 was closed for several hours between exit three in East Arlington and exit four in Manchester Center, representing about 10 miles of the freeway.


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The Manchester Police Department provided traffic control while the road was closed. The state Department of Motor Vehicles' commercial vehicle enforcement unit also responded to conduct its own investigation.

In addition to Manchester's members and equipment, the Arlington Fire Department responded with a tanker truck.

Contact Edward Damon at 413-770-6979