NORMAN — A massive fire engulfed a tractor-trailer Wednesday on Interstate 35, shutting down the highway and prompting evacuations.
A special agent with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics said he saw a trailer driving northbound on I-35 Wednesday evening with what looked like a burning tire.
The driver, who was hauling road paint on a flatbed trailer, pulled over.
The agent called for help and drove to the tractor-trailer, then telling the driver to exit her truck. Moments later, road paint containers exploded, engulfing the tractor-trailer and covering the highway with dark plumes of smoke, the agent said.
He then parked ahead of the truck in order to block traffic.
Authorities arrived to fight the fire and shut down the interstate, said the narcotics agent, who asked for his name to be withheld due to concerns about his safety.
The highway was shut down about 6:55 p.m. near W Tecumseh Road, Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper Betsy Randolph said.
No one was injured in the incident, but the fire prompted an evacuation of a nearby area, Norman Fire Deputy Chief Jim Bailey said.
The tractor-trailer was hauling about 4,200 gallons of highway paint to Montana, Bailey said.
The driver told Bailey a tire blew out before she noticed the back of her trailer was on fire.
The southbound lanes reopened by 8:30 p.m., though traffic squeezed through reduced lanes northbound into the evening.
The area evacuated was a business and industrial area, Bailey said.
A church and the Cleveland County Family YMCA were both evacuated, but people were cleared to return to those buildings within two hours, Bailey said.