Tractor-trailer fire causes major traffic delays on turnpike

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PITTSBURGH —

A tractor-trailer fire caused major traffic delays Friday afternoon in the westbound lanes of the Pennsylvania Turnpike near Pittsburgh.

The fire was reported just before 1 p.m. Friday on the shoulder of the road in Plum Borough, about halfway between the Monroeville/Pittsburgh exit at mile marker 57 and the Allegheny Valley exit at mile marker 48.

Sources said the accident may have been caused by a reckless driver.  Police said a driver may have sideswiped the car carrier, puncturing its fuel tank.  Diesel  spilled the length of a football field.

The car carrier was hauling Mini Coopers, and the blaze burned every car on board.

All westbound traffic was halted for a time, though one lane was open by 2:30 p.m., turnpike officials reported heavy delays.

Westbound drivers told Channel 11 they were stopped for two hours.

“I’ve been driving the turnpike for 26 years and have never seen anything like this,” said driver Neil Mihelich.

Police said the likely reckless driver did not stop.  The driver of the car carrier was not hurt.