Highway 78 wasn’t a fun place to be during the early Tuesday morning commute. That’s when a tractor-trailer rig containing building supplies burst into flames sending up a big old smoke column on the eastbound right shoulder just past Nordahl Road on the Escondido side.
The incident took place shortly before 6:30 a.m., just as commuter traffic was snarling, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The driver pulled over the rig as it became engulfed in flames escaping without injury, according to CHP Officer Jim Bettencourt. Firefighters extinguished the blaze on the flatbed trailer within 15 minutes, but the rig was a total loss, according to CHP sources.
A severe traffic backup ensued as fire trucks had to access the right two highway lanes. Traffic backed up into San Marcos on the open two lanes although all but one lane opened by 7:30 a.m. The fourth lane eventually reopened after the truck debris was cleared.