THORP – A fire caused traffic to snarl on Interstate 90 for several hours on Monday evening.
According to Washington State Patrol (WSP) trooper John Bryant, the incident occurred around 7 p.m. in the eastbound lanes near milepost 99, seven miles west of Ellensburg when a mobile home being carried by a semi-trailer caught fire.
Bryant tells iFIBER ONE News the semi-trailer and mobile home became separated at some point and the fire intensified very quickly, initially closing one of the eastbound lanes.
Soon after, the WSP closed all of the eastbound lanes after it was discovered that the mobile home contained several charged propane tanks and to allow for fire officials to have as much room as possible to extinguish the blaze.
“We wanted to make certain they had plenty of room to do their job and keep the fire from spreading,” said Bryant “Things are really dry out there right now and it would have been easy for the brush to catch once the motor home became fully involved.”
The westbound lanes of I-90 were also temporarily closed through the affected zone due to the presence of heavy smoke.
Bryant also said that troopers arrested a man for DUI after receiving reports that he was splitting lanes and using the shoulder in an attempt to force his way through the backup caused by the fire.
“It was quite an evening for us out there,” detailed Bryant. “We had a lot of troopers at the scene, so when this driver tried to force his way through the traffic jam caused by the fire, we were able to quickly pull him over and subsequently arrest him for being under the influence. That along with the fire made for a pretty eventful time for our troopers.”
The lane closures affected traffic for a total of roughly two hours. Bryant said the driver of the semi-trailer escaped without injury and the cause of the fire is unknown and still being investigated.