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Semi engulfed by fire on Florida's Turnpike southbound near Beeline Highway

Posted at 6:33 AM, Apr 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-28 18:58:49-04

A semi hauling hay was engulfed by fire Friday morning on Florida's Turnpike southbound near the Beeline Highway in Palm Beach County. 

The fire was ignited by sparks after one of the truck's tires had a blowout.

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When fire rescue crews responded to the fire at 6:23 a.m., 40 percent of the semi was on fire. 

"It's not a fun game, one to run across ... It's very labor intensive. The guys and gals had to work very hard to get it pulled apart ... stripped down to where they can get water to all of the confined areas of the back of the trailer," said Palm Beach Gardens Fire Rescue Capt. Matt Haywood.


Firefighters used a bobcat to assist with the overhaul operations.  The truck was so charred it had to be cut into pieces before it was towed away.

Shortly before 1:30 p.m., all southbound lanes of the Turnpike reopened. It took more than six hours to clear the scene.

The driver of the truck, John Rauscher, 74, of Ontario, Canada, was able to safely get out of the vehicle.

Rauscher was transporting the hay from Canada to Loxahatchee.

Palm Beach Gardens Fire Rescue crews also assisted with extinguishing the blaze.

The semi was a total loss.