ELKO – A fiery crash on Interstate 80 through Elko involved two semis and two pickups, resulting in one injury and keeping firefighters busy for four hours.
The collision occurred just before 1 a.m. near the College Parkway overpass.
According to the Nevada Highway Patrol, preliminary investigation shows that a semi-tractor with a trailer was traveling west on I-80 in the outside travel lane when, for undetermined reasons, if went off the right shoulder, struck the guardrail, overturned and was blocking the travel lanes.
A Ford pickup truck traveling behind the semi struck the overturned semi. A Dodge pickup truck traveling behind the Ford struck the Ford and overturned semi-trailer.
A second semi-tractor with a trailer, traveling behind the Dodge, struck the crashed vehicles in front of it.
Three of the four vehicles caught on fire and became fully engulfed.
Capt. Ray Mowrey of the Elko Fire Department said when the first two fire engines arrived they found three vehicles totally engulfed in flames. By the time they finished at 5:15 a.m. about 20 fire personnel had assisted, along with the Nevada Highway Patrol and Elko Police Department.
One occupant was transported via air ambulance to a Reno hospital for medical treatment. There were no other injuries reported.
Mowrey said a crew from the Nevada Department of Transportation helped break apart one of the trailers in order for firefighters to be sure the blaze was fully extinguished.
One truck was carrying cheese and the other meat or produce, he said. All three vehicles were destroyed.
Steven Hamilton of the Elko County Fire Protection District lives nearby.
“The explosion woke me up,” he said, and when he looked out his window he could see a “mushroom cloud” rising.
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