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(Photo courtesy: OFD)

Military Vehicle Fire Shuts Down Portion of I-5 at Oceanside Blvd

Oceanside CA— Oceanside Fire Department units were dispatched to a reported truck fire on the northbound side of the I-5 freeway at Oceanside Blvd just after 1 pm this afternoon.  Numerous callers reported a military vehicle on fire with small explosions occurring.  While enroute, units were able to see a large column of black smoke coming from the incident location and an additional engine was requested to support the two already dispatched.   The first arriving engine found the cab of a very large military transport vehicle well involved in fire along with a small fire burning in the brush at the offramp.

Crews rapidly deployed hose lines in an effort to stop the fire from spreading to the rear of the truck.  Additional fire crews contacted the Marines who had been driving the truck to ensure that no one was trapped and to determine if there were hazardous materials or ammunition on board.  Because of the volume of fire and to protect the crews working at the scene, three lanes of the freeway had to be blocked, causing a major traffic jam on the northbound I-5, as well as the westbound 78. The fire in both the truck and vegetation was fully extinguished within 30 minutes.  One engine remained on scene to finish overhauling the truck and to work with CHP and the USMC representatives on a small hydraulic fluid leak.

The involved truck was the cargo variant of the US Marine Corps Oshkosh 10-wheel drive Logistic Vehicle System Replacement (LVSR).  The entire cab of the unit was destroyed by the fire and the remaining front portion of the chassis suffered major damage.  Based on information from the internet, each complete LVSR can be worth up to $500,000.  The Oceanside Fire Department is estimating that at least $100,000 in damage occurred in this incident.  The truck was carrying two marines and no cargo and was returning from a trip down to San Diego when the crew heard a loud bang and immediately saw smoke and fire in the rear of the cab.  They were able to pull the unit to the shoulder, set the brake and evacuate to safety.  Hydraulic fluid was found on the ground around the truck and a spill extended about a ¼ mile back down the freeway.

The preliminary fire investigation points to a failure of a power take-off unit which severed the hydraulic line, causing the fire.  The explosions reported by callers were caused by several large rubber tires exploding in the heat of the fire.

The final engine crew returned to service after clean-up and overall approximately 2 hours after the initial alarm.