Truck crashes, catches fire near Fremont

FREMONT — A tractor-trailer hauling granite crashed and burned during a rainstorm early Saturday afternoon near a bridge at the west end of the Fremont Bypass, closing the bridge indefinitely pending inspection. The 1:10 p.m. crash was one of numerous traffic accidents reported Saturday as more than an inch of rain fell across the region, although troopers at the Ohio Highway Patrol’s Fremont post did not immediately declare the weather to have been a factor. As of 5 p.m., 1.54 inches of rain had fallen at Toledo Express Airport since Friday evening, and additional precipitation along with a rising, blustery wind were expected during the evening and overnight along with falling temperatures.

In Fremont, the tractor-trailer was on the ramp from the westbound Fremont Bypass toward U.S. 6/State Rt. 53 when it went off the left side of a curve, troopers said. It hit a guardrail and the end of the bridge’s concrete side wall before starting down an embankment. The impact spilled the truck’s diesel fuel, which ignited and engulfed the big rig, troopers said. The ramp bridge over State Street, which was scorched by the fire, remained closed for at least five hours afterward pending accident cleanup and an inspection.

The Ohio Department of Transportation said early Saturday evening an inspector found no structural damage. The truck’s driver, who was not identified in an initial report, suffered only minor injuries and was taken to a hotel after the crash, troopers said. About an hour later, a tractor-trailer crashed on southbound U.S. 23 at the I-475 junction in Sylvania Township and slid partway down an embankment, forcing lane closings on both U.S. 23 and westbound I-475.

Sylvania Township police said that driver also was not seriously hurt, but the cleanup disrupted traffic in the area for more than four hours while the tractor-trailer was hoisted back up to U.S. 23 from the embankment. Besides its potential role in traffic accidents, the rainy weather caused cancellation Saturday of Bowling Green’s Holiday Parade. It was unknown if the event would be rescheduled.

The passage of a storm-related cold front later Saturday evening was forecast to usher brisk northwest wind sustained at up to 35 mph and gusting to 50 mph, according to a National Weather Service wind advisory. The advisory was slated to be effective from 7 p.m. Saturday until 7 a.m. Sunday. Temperatures that peaked in the low 50s Saturday afternoon were predicted to fall to near freezing by sunrise Sunday and climb only to the upper 30s during the day under mostly cloudy skies. The National Weather Service predicted sunnier weather for the rest of the week, however.

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