Truck driver trapped as big rig burns on B.C.’s Coquihalla highway

Horrified witnesses say they could do nothing but watch as a transport truck burst into flames near Merritt, B.C., early Tuesday morning.

MERRITT, B.C. — Horrified witnesses say they could do nothing but watch as a transport truck burst into flames near Merritt, B.C., early Tuesday morning.

The blaze followed a crash at around 6 a.m. on the Coquihalla Highway, about 270 kilometres northeast of Vancouver.

Trucker Gerald Putzer of Abbotsford says the wreckage was engulfed.

He says another driver had pulled over and grabbed a fire extinguisher but the heat and flames made it impossible to reach the trapped driver of the semi-trailer.

Several explosions were reported from the truck’s pup-trailer but officials have since determined that the big rig was hauling bread and no dangerous chemicals are involved.

The incident briefly closed the busy highway but crews managed to get traffic moving again in the north and southbound slow lanes in less than two hours.