BOISE -- All lanes of Interstate 84 opened to eastbound vehicles just after 10:30 p.m. Friday after a tanker truck burst into flames causing the freeway to close for about three hours. The three-axle tractor trailer was carrying 1,500 gallons of diesel fuel.
Idaho State Police said the driver, Robert Browning from Boise, experienced a mechanical problem then the truck caught fire. Browning was able to get the truck to the shoulder before it was fully engulfed in flames. ISP Sergeant Sam Ketchum said flames were 60 to 80 feet high.
Instead of attacking the fire, Boise Fire Battalion Chief John Peugh said they used a different strategy.
"If we put the fire out, then we have a lot of raw fuel that we have to deal with. That becomes a hazmat, so on this particular situation, we elected to just let it burn off," said Peugh.
ISP helped with traffic control. They had to shut down the freeway because of how hot the fire was, while Boise fire handled the flames.
"Obviously because it's considered a hazardous material, the size of the flame, the temperature of the flames, we shut the freeway down at that time. Boise fire responded. They've done a great job of assisting as far as the fire, putting it out, giving us good direction as far as keeping the safety of the citizens obviously traveling on the highway," said Ketchum.
Partial closure of the freeway lasted around six and half hours.
Idaho State Police are investigating what exactly caused the fire, although troopers said that will be difficult because of the condition of the tanker truck.