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Retread tire came apart, causing fuel spill and semi-truck fire on I-35

OKLAHOMA CITY - An early morning semi fire on a busy interstate caused quite the headache for drivers and cleanup crews.

Flames and smoke poured from the semi around 4 in the morning Monday in the northbound lanes of I-35 near Hefner Rd.

We're told it all started when one of the retread tires came apart and caught fire.

"These tires here will tear off this fender, and this fender can go into the fuel tank," said Randy Carroll.

That punctured the fuel tank, causing diesel fuel to spill all over the roadway.

Our crews talked to seasoned truck drivers who said, unfortunately, these are risks on the road.

"If you get a puncture while you're driving along and don't know it, it only takes a few moments for a tire to overheat and, if it's a retread tire, it can come apart," said Rick LaPan with Night Refrigerated.

However, there are precautions drivers need to take in order to be safe.

"These tires are my lifeline," Carroll said. "You can tell with these tires how they feel and how they drive with a loaded trailer.”

It's all about monitoring tire pressure and condition of the tires.

It's a big job, because typical semis have 18 tires.

By law, its required trucks have new tires on the steers, the front tires but, for rears or trailer tires, they can be retreads or repaired tires.

One retread costs between $175-200, where a brand new tire costs anywhere from $400-600.

When you drive long distances, retreads are at risk for overheating or falling apart, making it crucial for drivers to always be aware.

"Keep your tires inflated first of all and to always make sure the tread is good on the tire," LaPan said.

I-35 was backed up for about five hours as crews cleaned up the mess.

Due to the fuel spill, Hazmat and storm quality were called out to the scene.

We’re told the driver of the semi was not hurt.