Colleton Fire-Rescue and the S.C. Highway Patrol were sent to the area of the 60-mile marker northbound on Interstate 95 after a report of a wreck in the median involving a tractor-trailer truck Sunday Oct. 11 at 3:02 a.m.
While units were responding, additional callers reported the truck and the woods were on fire. Additional Fire-Rescue units were assigned to the incident.
First arriving units found a semi-truck in the wooded median with heavy damage. The cab was fully involved in flames and the surrounding woods were on fire. Diesel fuel covered the wooded median around the truck.
A 30-year-old man was found on the northbound side of the incident with multiple traumatic injuries and burns. He said he was the passenger in the truck and that the driver was unaccounted for, but was unable to provide limited information. Firefighter-paramedics began treating the man, while other crew members deployed handlines to combat the fire. No medical helicopters could fly due to fog in the area.
The man was transported by ambulance to the Trauma/Burn Center at MUSC in Charleston with additional firefighter-paramedics onboard to assist with his care.
The flames were burning against the front and under the truck’s trailer which ignited the load inside the container. The truck’s cab was completely destroyed in the crash and fire.
Crews used a K-12 circular saw to cut an access hole into the front of the container, which was packed from the floor to ceiling, front to back, with boxes of freezer units. The units were burning inside the front of the container. Crews also cut access holes into the roof and doused the flames from there as well.
The fire was completely extinguished about an hour later.
Firefighter-paramedics had the fire knocked down within 15 minutes, then located Anthony Davis, 56, of Savannah, Ga. in the wreckage and notified the Colleton County Coroner’s Office. Coroner Richard Harvey said his cause of death is pending an autopsy.
One northbound and one southbound lane of I-95 were blocked for three hours as firefighters worked from sides of the interstate. The Highway Patrol and the coroner were working to identify the driver and the trucking company.
Apparently, the northbound truck suffered a front tire blowout, causing it to enter the wooded median, strike several trees and suffer heavy damage before erupting in flames. Several trees were knocked down.