Tanker truck fire snarls traffic on I-95

NORWALK - (AP) - A fire in a big rig hauling flammablemethanol closed a heavily traveled portion of Interstate 95 insouthwestern Connecticut for hours early Monday, diverting tens ofthousands of rush-hour commuters. No injuries were reported, and the methanol did not ignite. Emergency crews closed all northbound lanes in Fairfield formore than six hours and had to block southbound traffic at times.That portion of I-95 carries up to 135,000 vehicles daily,according to state data, and is a major commuting route to and fromNew York City. The problem started around 4:30 a.m. when the tractor-trailer'sdriver noticed smoke coming from his vehicle and pulled to theshoulder near Exit 19 in Fairfield, Vance said. The driver toldpolice he suspected a brake problem on the trailer portion of thevehicle started the fire, Vance said. Trucks and buses were diverted to U.S. Route 1 and passengervehicles were detoured to the Merritt Parkway. Heavy delays werereported on both roads all morning. "Everything's packed. The Merritt right now is handling tworoadways' worth of work, so it's very slow-moving," ConnecticutState Police Lt. J. Paul Vance said Monday morning. All three northbound lanes reopened before the evening rush hour, police said. Fairfield emergency crews evacuated up to 20 homes near thehighway for a few hours early Monday, but let residents return bymidmorning. Methanol, an alcohol, is used in various goods, from plastics towindshield washer fluid, and as a fuel in some race cars.

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