Ladysmith Fire/Rescue and the RCMP responded to a tractor-trailer fire on Highway 1 shortly after 9 p.m. last night. Highway 1 remained closed from 9:15 p.m. until shortly after 11 p.m.

Ladysmith Fire/Rescue and the RCMP responded to a tractor-trailer fire on Highway 1 shortly after 9 p.m. last night. Highway 1 remained closed from 9:15 p.m. until shortly after 11 p.m.

Highway 1 closed briefly following tractor-trailer fire

Ladysmith Fire/Rescue and the RCMP responded to a tractor-trailer fire on Highway 1 the night of Tuesday, Jan. 15

Highway 1 was closed for two hours last night as Ladysmith Fire/Rescue and the RCMP responded to a tractor-trailer fire.

Police cordoned off Highway 1 between Buller Street and First Avenue while firefighters moved in to extinguish a fire that had ignited in the undercarriage of a tractor-trailer as it was passing through town shortly after 9 p.m.

“What happened was that he was driving down the highway and drove over a mattress,” Fire Chief Ray Delcourt said. “He thought it went off the side of the road. It didn’t. It got tucked up underneath the truck. He drove it for a few kilometres down the road. Eventually the mattress caught fire and he pulled over.”

The truck’s tires and the undercarriage in the vicinity of the truck’s fifth-wheel coupling caught fire, Delcourt added, with flames curling up the sides of the trailer.

Firefighters doused the flames engulfing the trailer’s exterior then cut the side wall of the trailer open to ensure its cargo of wood pallets hadn’t caught fire, scanning the trailer with a thermal-imaging camera to ensure there were no hotspots.

RCMP Constable Tim Desaulniers said Mid Island Towing was called in to remove the rig before the highway was reopened “shortly after 11.”

The truck’s driver was unharmed.