Robin Schramm was driving his tractor trailer north on I-75 Friday morning when he smelled smoke, but he knew that it wasn’t coming from his truck, but rather the semi in front of him, which was hauling eight SUV’s.
“I think his brakes got hot and caught fire. I kept on smelling smoke, but I didn’t see nothing, but I smelled. By the time I was able to get to him, his tire popped and that is when he started pulling over,” Schramm said.
“I am one of them good truck drivers. I look out for everybody. I seen him and kept on flashing my lights. He eventually pulled over.”
The C&C Automotive Transport out of Concord, Virginia, stopped about 200 yards north of the northbound onramp at Exit 15 about 9:40 a.m.
Firefighters from Goldbug, Pleasant View, Rockholds and Oak Grove volunteer fire departments along with Williamsburg Fire and Rescue responded to the scene with half a dozen fire trucks, including multiple tankers.
Fire from the rear brake area spread up into the vehicles completely demolishing three of the vehicles, and a fourth suffered fire damage to the front portion of the vehicle.
At least a portion of the vehicles were BMW’s.
Nobody was injured from the blaze, which took firefighters quite some time and numerous gallons of water to extinguish completely.
The Whitley County Sheriff’s Department and the Williamsburg Police Department both helped provide traffic control.
Both northbound lanes of I-75 were shut down for about 90 minutes. One northbound lane re-opened about 11 a.m., but the Exit 15 northbound onramp remained closed.