Fuel tanker fire shuts down I-5 near Tacoma Dome | Video

About 4:45 p.m. Thursday, a fuel tanker truck fire near the Tacoma Dome blocked traffic on Interstate 5 in both directions.

The fire started very quickly. One moment the sky in Tacoma was clear, then the next there was smoke rising as I drove around the curve just before the Tacoma Dome.

Several civilians traveling northbound on I-5 pulled over quickly just past the tanker truck and jumped the divider to stop traffic going southbound from passing the tanker, in case it exploded.

Cars quickly stopped, then once they realized what was going on, began backing up as much as possible.

At that point, a state patrol car drove by going south in the northbound lanes, announcing over his loudspeaker for all people outside their cars to get back in and move their vehicles farther down the road. He then drove by again, announcing for all of us in the southbound lanes to move over as far right as we could.

Flames were shooting high by now, and the smoke was getting darker.

Occasionally an explosion rang out, and a small object would shoot off with a bang and a trail of smoke, like a firecracker.

Fire personnel arrived, but after checking out the fire, they stood back and watched it burn.

The cab completely burned away. The smell of burning tires permeated the air.

The tanker itself never caught fire. Instead, the front area of the vehicle turned black.

Eventually, once the fire had almost completely burned out, firefighters then turned on their hoses, finishing off the fire.

Southbound lanes were reopened around 5:45 p.m., according to WSDOT. As of 7:15 p.m. Thursday, the left lane of northbound I-5 had reopened and traffic was backed up to 72nd Street.

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