I-94 reopens in St. Croix County after semi fire

Interstate 94 through St. Croix County has reopened after a semi fire closed a stretch of the roadway Thursday morning.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s (WisDOT) 511 website, a fire that involved what a 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS photographer confirmed to be a FedEx semi-truck and trailer had caused a stretch of the highway to temporarily close in both directions around 6:25 a.m. Thursday. However, the eastbound lanes had reopened by 7:40 a.m.

Westbound traffic between Wisconsin Highway 65 south of Roberts to County Road T, just south of Hammond, didn’t reopen until around 12:30 p.m.

St. Croix County Sheriff Scott Knudson says the fire was reported at around 6:17 a.m. and seven departments were called in to extinguish and investigate the fire, including the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

According to Knudson, a hazardous materials crew was called in due to a small amount of sodium hydroxide being on board the vehicle. The American Chemistry Council says sodium hydroxide is also known as lye or caustic soda and is used in manufacturing processes as well as the creation of medicine and pharmaceutical products. CLICK HERE for additional information on sodium hydroxide from OSHA and HERE from the CDC.

Knudson says an alert like the one shown below went out to residents who lived near the scene, and a deputy also went door to door to let residents know what was happening. According to the Wisconsin State Patrol, an alert was issued via RAVE, IPAWS and social media sites of a possible need to evacuate, but no mandatory evacuation was done.

No other vehicles were involved in the fire. The Wisconsin DNR adds the flames didn’t appear to cause any significant wildland fire.

The driver, whose name and age haven’t been provided, was evaluated at the scene for injuries.