Kingsport Firefighters Battle Tractor Trailer Fire in Extreme Heat

Photo credit: Barry Brickey

Photo credit: Barry Brickey

Around 1300hrs, the Kingsport Fire Department was alerted of a tractor trailer fire on the I-81 off-ramp at the 57mm. KFD Engine 6 and Engine 7 responded to the reported fire and had heavy smoke visible prior to arriving on-scene. The Deputy Chief (C-3) and Engine 1 out of headquarters also responded based on the dispatch information.

KFD units arrived on-scene to find a tractor trailer on the shoulder of the road with the tractor fully engulfed and the trailer partially engulfed in flames. It was quickly determined that Hazardous Materials were not involved since the driver of the truck was able to relay the information that he was hauling frozen goods.


Photo credit: Barry Brickey

Firefighters worked quick to extinguish the fire that had spread to the nearby grass, and used foam to assist in extinguishing the fire. Due to the location of the incident, water supply was limited. City units asked the local volunteer departments to provide tanker support to the engines. Sullivan County VFD, Warriors Path VFD, Sullivan West Fire-Rescue, and Bloomingdale VFD all responded with man power and tankers to assist.

I-81 Command requested Engine 3 and Engine 4 to respond to provide additional manpower due to the extreme heat.

The fire was difficult to extinguish due to the heavy insulated trailer that was hauling the frozen goods. The front part of the trailer was where the majority of the fire was, and crews laddered the side of the trailer to extinguish the fire from above. Crews also used reciprocating saws to cut access holes in the side of the trailer to extinguish some of the fire.

The KFD Rehab Unit responded to the fire scene and set-up the rehab area for responders to have access to the air conditioning and cool down. Misting fans and cold towels were used to help prevent the firefighters from becoming overheated. Sullivan County EMS and Kingsport Life-Saving Crew also assisted fire personnel on-scene.

Traffic was controlled by Kingsport Police Department and the Tennessee Highway Patrol due to the exit ramp being temporarily shut-down during extinguishment. The American Red Cross also assisted on-scene, along with several other agencies.


Premier Equipment assisted firefighters on-scene by using their equipment to off-load the pallets of frozen goods out the back of the trailer. Fire crews assisted in hooking to the pallets to help remove some of the fire load. As the trailer was unloaded, additional equipment removed the goods from the roadway.

Fire crews remained on-scene for several hours until all the hotspots were extinguished and the tractor trailer could be removed from the exit ramp.

Click here to view the WJHL News Coverage (video) of the incident.

Responding Units: C-1, C-2, C-3, Engine 1, Engine 3, Engine 4, Engine 6, Engine 7, KFD Rehab Unit, KFD Safety Officer

Additional Assisting Agencies: SCEMS, KLSC, Bloomingdale VFD, Sullivan County VFD, Sullivan West, Warriors Path, KPD, THP, American Red Cross, Premier Equipment, etc.

Local Media Links

WCYB Channel 5

Times News

WJHL Channel 11