An apparent car fire has stopped traffic dead on the 40 East between Nashville and Knoxville. Looks like it just happened; cops are just arriving. Hope everyone's okay.
UPDATE, 10:02 PM EDT: The accident has set off a sizeable brush fire along the righthand side of the road, and the authorites seem pretty busy fighting the fire(s) at the moment, so I don’t think we’re going anywhere anytime soon.
UPDATE, 10:18 PM: I walked up maybe a mile from where we’re stopped, and took some pictures. Click any image for the full-size verison.
UPDATE, 10:53 PM: We’re moving!
UPDATE, 10:57 PM: The fire was started by a truck hauling maybe 10 cars!! That would explain the size of the fire! Wow… all (or at least nearly all) the cars were toast.
The fire appeared to be out as we drove by.
P.S. As I was walking up toward the scene (I never got closer than maybe a couple hundred yards away — didn’t want to interfere with the police or put myself in danger), I overheard a bystander relaying a second-hand report of “cars exploding.” I dismissed it as unreliable hearsay, a result of the old “playing telephone” problem, which is very common in situations like that… but given that it was a car hauler that apparently started the fire, the report actually makes sense. A fire could easily have set off a chain reaction, causing multiple cars to explode, or at least to rapidly and dramatically go up in flames. It was dark when we drove by, but some of those cars appeared to have very little of ’em left.
P.P.S. Welcome, InstaPundit readers! Shortly after publishing the photos, I link-whored this post to Glenn (figuring, correctly, that Tennessee News + Citizen Journalism = Instalanche), and I also e-mailed various Nashville and Knoxville TV stations, and the Tennessean. A reporter for the latter promptly returned my call and interviewed me by phone about the accident. I don’t know if I said anything interesting enough to make the paper, though.
UPDATE, 11:34 PM: Hey, on second thought, the article is online, and I am indeed quoted:
Smith County Police are responding to a wreck on Interstate 40 east near mile marker 262. The eastbound lanes were closed for over an hour, and emergency workers have just reopened the left lane.
The accident was caused by an 18-wheeler hauling cars that caught fire at about 8 p.m. Brendan Loy was on the way from the Nashville airport to Knoxville with his wife when they were caught in the traffic and sat still for an hour and 40 minutes, he said.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“People didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know what was going on and obviously wanted to get some kind of information,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Loy said he couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t tell whether anyone was hurt, but that it looked like the majority of the fire was in the cars on the back of the trailer.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t really get a real good view of [the] cab, but it didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t look like that was as charred as those cars were,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Police could not confirm whether there were any injuries.
I didn’t get a photo of the car hauler as we drove by, but I did take video out the window. It was dark, but I’ll post it later if it shows anything worthwhile.
UPDATE, 11:45 PM: Those who aren’t BrendanLoy.com regulars may be wondering how I am blogging all this while in the car. (As I type right now, we’re 65 miles out of Knoxville.) I have a magical Sprint phone that I can use as a modem for my laptop, giving me virtually unlimited, albeit slow, Internet access from just about anywhere for a mere $15 a month. As a result, I routinely surf the Internet from the car while Becky is driving. That’s how I added all the updates to this post. (The original post, with just the camera-phone pic and the brief caption below it, was posted directly from Becky’s phone, without use of my laptop. But then I hooked up the laptop to my “modem” phone and added all the updates, and uploaded the large photos.)
UPDATE, 12:30 AM: Almost home… finally.
Several small bugs, attracted by the light of my computer screen when we were stopped along the highway with our windows open, have hitched a ride to Knoxville with us. They’re still crawling around the computer screen as I type this. When the doors open, they’ll find themselves very far from home. Heh.
More photos after the jump!