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Truck driver broke no laws by leaving exploding trailer of propane on I-5, police say

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Police say that a truck driver technically didn’t break any laws by unhitching his burning trailer and leaving the scene in Portland earlier this week. 

The accident happened just before 5 a.m. on Tuesday, June 18th on Interstate 5 near Portland, Oregon between North Skidmore and Going Streets. 

According to KOIN 6, a commercial vehicle was hauling a trailer full of propane when it experienced a mechanical issue that caused the trailer to catch fire. The truck driver apparently realized what was happening, unhitched the truck from the trailer, and drove off, leaving the trailer full of propane to burn and explode on northbound I-5. 

Firefighters used about 5,000 gallons of water to extinguish the flames and prevent any more propane tanks from popping “like popcorn across the freeway,” but the driver was nowhere to be found. 

The Portland Fire Investigations Unit contacted the company and was notified that the truck driver had reported the incident. Because the fire was not caused by a crash, and no criminal activity is suspected, the truck driver was technically not legally required to remain at the scene and speak with police. 

“The Portland Fire Investigations Unit believes the fire started in the driver’s side wheel well area of the trailer and was a mechanical issue,” officials said to Fox 66. “There is no indication of any criminal act.”

The truck driver is now cooperating with investigators. No further information has been released.  

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