Semi hauling carnival rides catches fire on US-75 north of Topeka

Southbound traffic on US-75 highway near N.W. 46th Street just north of Topeka was slowed Wednesday morning after a semi caught fire.
Published: Aug. 25, 2021 at 8:11 AM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Southbound traffic on a portion of US-75 highway was shut down during rush-hour Wednesday morning after a semi-trailer carrying carnival rides caught fire just north of Topeka.

The fire was reported around 7:55 a.m. on southbound US-75 just north of N.W. 46th Street.

Kansas Highway Patrol Lt. Adam Simone said the driver apparently fell asleep at the wheel.

“He drifted off the roadway and struck the guardrail here behind me,” Simone said at the scene, “and basically rode the guardrail to where it came to a stop. Then it caught on fire.”

The semi then struck a guardrail on the right -- or west -- side of the highway, where it went onto its driver’s side before catching fire.

A semi hauling a carnival ride caught fire during the morning commute Wednesday morning,...
A semi hauling a carnival ride caught fire during the morning commute Wednesday morning, causing traffic to back up on SB US-75 in Topeka.(Shawnee Co. Sheriff's Office)

A portion of the semi was hanging over the west edge of the roadway, immediately north of the overpass at N.W. 46th Street.

The truck’s driver, who was alone in the vehicle, was reported to be out of the vehicle with no apparent serious injuries.

The side of the semi’s trailer had a sign from Sam’s Amusements Carnival, based in Shawnee, Okla.

Crews from both the Soldier and Silver Lake fire departments were responding to the scene.

Southbound traffic immediately north of the crash scene on US-75 was shut down for about an hour.

Starting around 8:45 a.m., southbound vehicles on US-75 that had been stopped were allowed to exit onto N.W. 46th.

The vehicles then were able to go around a roundabout on N.W. 46th and re-enter the highway on the south side of the overpass.

Meanwhile, other southbound traffic on southbound US-75 was being diverted onto N.W. 62nd Street.

A tow truck from Brown’s Super Service was on the scene by around 9 a.m. to move the semi.

Kansas Department of Transportation crews were cleaning debris that was strewn about the roadway.

KDOT officials at the scene said the portion of southbound US-75 immediately north of N.W. 46th. where the crash occurred,was expected to remain closed until approximately 11 a.m. or noon on Wednesday.

Engineers from KDOT were expected to arrive on the scene to check the structural integrity of the roadway before it was reopened to traffic.

Northbound lanes of US-75 weren’t affected by the crash, though a considerable amount of smoke did drift across the highway for at least 30 minutes.

Flames also could be seen under the cab area of the semi for more than a half-hour after the crash.

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