Traffic through Berkeley is snarled on the highway after a tractor trailer caught fire and spilled fuel on Interstate 880 near I-580, authorities report.
Circulation in that area — northbound I-880 to eastbound I-80 — is limited, and authorities have advised motorists to use alternate routes, according to 511 Bay Area.
“On Friday, July 8th, at 1:08pm, a Severe Traffic Alert is in effect on the northbound I-880 ramp to eastbound I-80 due to a tractor trailer fire and fuel spill. The on-ramp is closed. Motorists are advised to expect delays and avoid the area. There is no estimated time to reopen the roadway,” according to 511.
Berkeleyside readers began asking for information just before 1 p.m. about the “the large amounts of smoke … in what looks like West Berkeley or Emeryville.”
Said another: “There’s a large fire with billowing black smoke in the southwest Berkeley area.”
The smoke was visible from University and Shattuck.
Asked another: “Thick smoke flames visible from BART. What’s the word?”
One reader told Berkeleyside there was a “Semi on fire on off ramp where 580w passes Bay St shops. We heard an explosion afterwards.”
According to preliminary reports to the CHP, the first call came in at 12:53 p.m. about a big rig on the righthand side of the freeway that had flames and smoke coming from the trailer.
Berkeley Fire was one of the agencies that was dispatched, along with the Emeryville Fire Department. (Berkeleyside has asked for information from BFD.)
Just before 1 p.m., the CHP closed down multiple lanes in the roadway, as well as ramps in the area, due to leaking fuel and traffic conditions.
There were some reports of debris falling onto I-580, as well as callers reporting drivers who had stopped and were taking pictures.
According to Sigalert, traffic on westbound 580 in the area of Ashby Avenue, Powell Street and I-80 East is moving at 6 mph.
Berkeleyside will update this story if additional information becomes available.
Update, 2:40 p.m. The CHP is reporting that 100-200 gallons of diesel may have been spilled in the roadway and may have gone into the drains in the area. That information has not been confirmed.
See the alert on 511 Bay Area. Have a question about a local public safety incident? Write to email@example.com. Photographs and videos are always appreciated.