Fiery triple-big rig crash aftermath expected to block North Loop eastbound at Wayside for hours

Jeff Ehling Image
Wednesday, February 16, 2022
Fiery crash involving 3 big rigs blocking North Loop EB at Wayside
According to HFD, the high heat from the massive fire caused damage to the concrete and signage on the freeway. The closure may be long term.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A crash involving three big-rig trucks caused an 18-wheeler to burst into flames on the North Loop eastbound at Wayside. The wreck sparked a major traffic backup Wednesday morning.

All eastbound lanes of the I-610 North Loop are closed. The westbound lanes have since reopened, but the fire was so large, police initially blocked the freeway in both directions.

Drivers will want to avoid the area. You can take the Eastex Freeway southbound to I-10 eastbound to get back on the Loop.

Police eventually had drivers stuck behind the crash turn around on the North Loop and exit the freeway driving in the wrong direction.

Flames could be seen shooting into the air in what appeared to be an explosion after 5 a.m. Wednesday.

Transtar cameras captured what appeared to be an explosion. Officers said one of the vehicles involved in the crash was a fuel truck.

The large fire and thick black smoke could be seen from Transtar cameras.

Houston police told ABC13 that three semi-trucks were involved in an accident on the freeway. One of the vehicles involved was a fuel truck that erupted into flames, police said.

Houston firefighters said one of the other trucks involved was hauling compacted trash. All three trucks were destroyed.

According to HFD District Chief Mike Foster, water supply issues on I-610 made the firefighting effort difficult.

The high heat of the crash caused damage to the concrete on the freeway, Foster said. Video at the scene showed the exit sign above the roadway completely charred and no longer legible.

Foster said that since the freeway itself was damaged, the closure to the eastbound lanes will likely be long-term. Two lanes may open later Wednesday, but the rest of the lanes will likely require repairs.

It's unclear what exactly led up to the crash, though one of the truck drivers told ABC13's Jeff Ehling that the fuel truck had brake issues. He said the brakes locked and the driver of the second truck had to swerve to miss hitting the fuel truck, causing a crash with the third truck involved.

According to HFD, there were no reported injuries.