GOLIAD – Traffic on U.S. Highway 59 was blocked for half an hour at noon Friday after the tires on an 18-wheeler tractor caught fire just east of the town’s main intersection.

The fire first was spotted by Sheriff’s Deputy Dale Tarkington, who reported it at 11:53 a.m.

Driver Joe Andrews, with the Palos Garza Transportation Company, was hauling industrial resin from Atlanta to the company’s base in Laredo. “I noticed the smoke in my rear-view mirrors,” he said, and he immediately stopped and disconnected the tractor from the trailer.

As firemen poured water on the burning tire and brake assembly, the thick, black smoke turned white.

Andrews used his cellphone to inform the tractor’s owner.

“It’s not drivable,” he said, “and I was really in the groove to get to Laredo tonight.”

As deputies finally opened up two lanes to allow backed up traffic to pass, firemen climbed into the trailer to make sure none of the plastic cargo was affected.

A sign on the trailer read it was leased by the Logic Plus LLC company; the license plate on the trailer was from Oklahoma.

Bill Clough is the Goliad editor at the Advance-Guard Press and can be reached at 361-645-2330, or at goliad@mySouTex.com.

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