18-wheeler carrying cardboard bursts into flames on I-610

By Lea Wilson - Digital News Editor

HOUSTON - Eastbound lanes of I-610 at North Main were closed Thursday after a ladder truck full of cardboard caught fire.

The wreck was reported just after 3:30 a.m. 

Two lanes of the freeway were reopened just before 5 a.m.

Investigators said the 18-wheeler was carrying at least 22,500 pounds of cardboard.

The driver, Joseph Shephard, said he heard a loud pop as he was driving and pulled over. When got out of the truck, he found the trailer on fire, he said.

"I started seeing, as I exited the vehicle and walking to the back of the trailer, I stared seeing I guess you’d call it drops of fire fall to the ground and a bunch of smoke coming off," Shephard said. "When I seen that, I immediately dropped the trailer and unhooked and pulled out from it. As far as I know, it (the trailer) just engulfed in flames."

VIDEO: Driver describes moments his 18-wheeler caught fire on I-610

Shephard, who has been a truck driver for more than three years, said he picked up the empty boxes in Sealy.

No one was injured in the fire.

The cause of the flames is under investigation.

Commuters should expect several hours of delays during the morning commute.

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