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Fiery semi crash shuts down I-196

11:32 PM, Oct 15, 2013   |    comments
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GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- Westbound I-196 has reopened following a semi-truck crash near Lane Avenue in Grand Rapids.

The crash happened around 5:50pm Tuesday evening toward the end of rush hour.  "We had a semi coming up the hill here the driver lost control of the vehicle," said Battalion Chief Kevin Sehlmeyer, "It went across the guardrail, the cab jackknifed and the tractor caught on fire."

Another motorist nearby helped the driver of the truck escape the burning vehicle. He was not seriously hurt.

Drivers on the freeway captured images of the fireball and thick black smoke, which could be seen across downtown Grand Rapids. "I could feel the heat from the flames of it," said witness Rodney Lane, "I was kind a concerned what could be in he back of the truck to blow up."

Battalion Chief Kevin Sehlmeyer says, "I've been doing it 27 years and every time you come up on one of these things you are just wondering if somebody is hurt or killed in the accident."

The weather was rainy at the time and police continue to investigate what caused the crash.

The road was closed for about five and a half hours Tuesday.

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