PALM DESERT, Calif. - Firefighters and police were on the scene of a tanker truck fire in Palm Desert Monday morning that tied up traffic for two hours.
The freeway was closed briefly in the eastbound direction between Cook Street and Washington Street, said Officer Joe Zagorsky of the California Highway Patrol.
The Riverside County Fire Department said the tanker truck's cab was fully involved with fire when crews first arrived.
The first arriving engine company reported the tanker was full of phosphoric acid, but the fire was contained to the cab and the chemicals were not compromised.
The truck's driver told News Channel 3 he stopped the big rig when he started losing power. He then noticed a fire in the battery compartment and tried to put it out with a fire extinguisher. The flames only spread.
Zagorski said motorists were being detoured off the freeway's eastbound lanes at Cook Street to get around the fire scene and road blockage.
The CHP reported reopening two eastbound traffic lanes shortly after 7 a.m. One lane was still closed to traffic. Westbound lanes were not affected, but traffic was slow from onlookers.
All traffic lanes were reopened to traffic by 8:15 a.m. as clean up continued.
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