As midnight drew near, the town of Independence quietly drew in for the night until a sudden boom! Shattered the night quiet. Some thought it might be thunder, a car crash, a sonic boom. Instead, a hulking semi-truck sat engulfed with flames on the town’s main street.
On the north end of the town, the truck sat on the northbound side of 395, flames pouring out of the side. Someone said a man was inside, but fortunately, the truck driver had swifly jumped out of the truck when the flames exploded into the trailer. The driver said he had left from Los Angeles on his way to Reno with a load of some type of beverages.
The Highway Patrol said that the truck may have sustained a flat tire outside the driver’s awareness, he ran on it and sparks created heat causing the tire to catch on fire.
The Inyo Sheriff’s Department received the original report that a big rig had blown out a tire. 5 minutes later, the truck burst into flames in Independence.
Independence volunteer firefighters quickly arrived on scene. It was a tense incident, impacted by the fear of a bigger fuel explosion.
Even so, firefighters moved in with their hoses and quickly brought down the flames. The heat had destroyed the side of the big rig trailer. The fierce fire cooled off to hissing steam and came under containment within the hour.