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Semi goes up in flames shutting down freeway

NORMAN, Okla. – The metal frame is all that remains on a semi truck after being devoured by roaring flames

“Our crews responded and worked to put out the fire,” said Deputy Chief Jim Bailey with Norman Fire Department. “The driver said she got a flat tire and when she pulled over, the truck caught on fire.”

Traffic came to a stand still and hundreds of motorist were forced off the freeway. Officials say the driver for Texas Blue Thunder out of Mesquite, Texas was not injured.

She was hauling yellow and white highway stripping paint made from acid, posing an immediate hazard for anyone within a half mile radius

“We evacuated four business and a church,” said Bailey.

Traffic was reopened on I-35 north and southbound lanes.

Several witnesses captured video of a massive semi-truck fire along I-35 which shut down a portion of the highway Wednesday night. Scott Peake, who works nearby, grabbed his camera and started recording.

“It was definitely a fireball at the beginning,” Peake said. “When I got there it was thick black smoke just red hot flames coming from the semi-truck.”

The fire forced nearby businesses to evacuate because of the chemicals inside the truck. Dick Reeger evacuated with several other people. He could smell the chemicals in the air as he recorded the fire on his cellphone.

“That’s why I got out of here because I got a taste in my mouth right now which is kind of bitter from just smelling the smoke,” Reeger said.

Authorities evacuated people within 1/2 mile of the fire. By 8:30 pm Wednesday night, the evacuation was lifted.

Kevan Higgins posted this raw video:

Viewers sent in the following photos of the tanker fire from earlier this evening: