A big rig swerved off I-80 in Fairfield, crashed into a ditch and started a brush fire behind a shopping center Monday afternoon.
“One of our customers saw smoke through the back door and he just left immediately,” Nathan Coash said.
Coash is a shift manager at the Five Guys restaurant along I-80. He said he evacuated customers from the restaurant.
“We smelled smoke and then we looked outside and there was a huge, gaping fire. Smoke covered this whole area. Then I could hear the tires exploding. It was really loud, you could feel the impact to yourself,” said Coash.
The big rig landed outside a chain link fence that separates the shopping center from the freeway. Other retail stores, including a go kart business, had to to put their customers on hold while the smoke cleared.
The driver of the big rig was Luis Gramajo. Gramajo was transporting several 1 ton aluminum coils when he crashed.
“I was driving and traffic just stopped. I just didn’t want to run anyone over so I pulled to the side,” said Gramajo.
When Gramajo pulled to the side, his big rig rolled into a ditch, crashed into a tree, and caught fire. Most of the vehicle was burnt beyond recognition.
“I just saw a hole on the right door and that’s where I jumped,” said Gramajo.
Gramajo waiting for his family in the back of a highway patrol car. He told FOX40 he only suffered a cut to his forehead and scrapes to his arm.
Fairfield Fire Department said the brush fire was contained to 75 yards.