IONIA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — An eight-wheeled tractor carrying 10 tons of lime caught fire near Ionia Monday afternoon, restricting traffic all day and damaging a nearby business.
Ionia Department of Public Safety Deputy Director John Odette told 24 Hour News 8 the tractor caught fire on M-66 just south of the city limits after a malfunction.
A Michigan State Police motor carrier unit from the Ionia detachment was behind the tractor and was able to call emergency responders right away. The driver of the tractor exited safely and was not hurt.
Still, the fire sparked the hundreds of gallons of diesel fuel the tractor had on board, igniting an inferno that burned for a while until firefighters could get it under control.==Warning: The video embedded below contains some profane language. App users can click here to watch the video.==
One person commented on Ionia DPS’s Facebook page that they could see the smoke from the fire all the way from Saranac.
The heat was so intense that it melted siding on the nearby Sheri’s Restaurant and damaged the business’s sign.
It also may have damaged the road. The Michigan Department of Transportation is investigating.
Meanwhile, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is monitoring the water runoff from the scene because it could contain lime, diesel and other chemicals. The Grand River is only a few yards away, so the DEQ is monitoring whether any runoff made it into the river.
Both north and southbound lanes on M-66 were restricted to one lane until the clean-up was completed, which was expected to take until between 10 p.m. and midnight.