Semi truck carrying N95 masks and surgical gowns catches fire on I-40 in Smith County

April 18, 2020

Updated at 1:50 p.m. on Monday, April 20, 2020, to include additional details found in the Tennessee Highway Patrol’s preliminary incident report.

Around 5:00 a.m. on Saturday morning, a semi truck carrying a shipment of N95 masks and surgical gowns caught fire while heading westbound on I-40 in Smith County.

The Smith County Central District Fire Department, along with the New Middleton, Forks River, and Gordonsville City Fire Departments responded to the fire.

The incident occurred at the 262.8 mile marker on I-40.

According to Smith County EMA Director Sonny Carter, the fire is believed to have started in the rear wheels of the trailer.

The preliminary incident report filed by Trooper Troy Withers from the Tennessee Highway Patrol confirms that the fire began in the rear axle of the trailer. According to this report, when the truck driver noticed the fire, he pulled to the shoulder and attempted to extinguish the fire. The fire fully engulfed the trialed and burned it and its contents.

The vehicle that was pulling the trailer, which was described as a 1994 Mack Tractor Trailer, was able to separate from the trailer and did not sustain any damage.

The driver of the vehicle was thirty-year-old Rodney Fox, Jr. from Argyle, New York. No charges were filed in relation to the incident.

No injuries were reported.