Crash on US-131 causes fuel spill, semi fire

US-131, semi-truck fire
A semi-truck after a fire along US-131 in Kalamazoo on Jan. 19, 2017.


KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — No one was seriously hurt when a semi-truck sideswiped a vehicle stopped along US-131 and then caught fire Thursday morning.

The crash happened before 7:40 a.m. in the northbound lanes of the highway near Parkview Avenue in Kalamazoo, according to the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety.

Police say the semi-truck driver swerved as he reached down to pick up his phone. The semi and trailer left its lane and sideswiped a vehicle that was stopped because of a flat tire.

The crash caused the semi’s fuel tank to rupture and diesel fuel to spill. The fuel ignited and the semi caught fire.

The burned remains of a truck cab after it caught fire on US-131 in Kalamazoo. (Jan. 19, 2017)
The burned remains of a truck cab after it caught fire on US-131 in Kalamazoo. (Jan. 19, 2017)

Fire crews from Kalamazoo, Portage, and Texas and Oshtemo townships responded to put out the fire. Crews from the Michigan Department of Transportation and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality were also called to the scene to help clean up hazardous waste. US-131 was closed for about two hours while crews worked.

The 45-year-old driver of the passenger vehicle was still in the car, waiting for a tow truck, when the crash happened. She sustained a minor injury to her leg and was taken to the hospital.

The 24-year-old semi driver wasn’t hurt. He was cited for improper lane use.