Interstate 74 Open After Fire and Crash

By Ashley McNamee

August 14, 2011 Updated Aug 16, 2011 at 3:58 PM CDT

Two separate incidents on Interstate-74 had the highway closed down for hours Sunday afternoon and sent six people to the hospital.

Illinois State Police it started with an RV fire in the westbound lanes near Kickapoo just after 2 p.m.

An ISP spokesman says the cause is unknown, but thick smoke was blowing into the eastbound lanes lowering visibility, causing drivers to slow down.

Thirty minutes later the heavy smoke caused a semi-truck loaded with meat to rear-end another semi-truck, which hit three cars in front of it.

The first semi caught fire and when troopers arrived on the scene they climbed into the truck and were able to put the fire out saving the man's life, but were unable to pull him from the cab.

The driver, who's identity has not been released, was life-flighted with serious injuries.

In total, five people were taken to the hospital with injuries, including one of the troopers who rescued the driver.

By 4:30 p.m. lanes in the westbound direction reopened.

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