Media & Public Relations

Contact: Carl DeFebo
Phone: 717-645-2265 (mobile)
August 30, 2012

Eastbound Tractor Trailer Fire in Cumberland County Has Pa. Turnpike Closed

Toll road closed between Breezewood and Carlisle exits until around Noon today.

A tractor trailer that caught fire at milepost 219 eastbound in Cumberland County this morning just before 4 a.m. has necessitated the closure of a 65-mile stretch of the Pennsylvania Turnpike between the Breezewood Interchange (#161) and the Carlisle Interchange (#226), only for eastbound traffic.

The trailer, stopped in a construction area at the time, became fully engulfed in fire which spread across both eastbound lanes. The fire destroyed the trailer, spilling its load of cantaloupes across the highway. The driver escaped from the cab unharmed.

The fire has been extinguished, and crews are now working to clean up the scene, which is expected to take several hours. Once the scene has been cleared of all debris, the roadway beneath the truck may need to be repaired because it too was damaged.

Turnpike officials hope to reopen the eastbound lanes by noon today.

The recommended detour for eastbound motorists: Exit at Breezewood (#161) take Route 30 west (.3 miles) to I-70 east (I-70 exit MD #26) (48 miles) to I-81 north (58 miles) to Route 11 south and reenter at Carlisle Interchange (#226). Alternate-route cards will be available to exiting travelers at Breezewood during the closure. Expect higher traffic volumes on detour roads during the closure. It is estimated that the detour will add 30-45 minutes to the trip.

The long detour is needed so that traffic leaving the Turnpike can be safely accommodated on an alternate route that is mostly comprised of other interstate highways.

Turnpike motorists can get up-to-date travel conditions by calling 866-976-TRIP (8747). This toll-free number gives audio advisories for the region in which you are traveling, including delays and closures. For a snapshot of conditions across the Turnpike, visit the Interactive Travel Map at An smartphone app, “TRIP Talk,” streams audio advisories to iPhone and Droid users on America's First Superhighway. To download the free app, visit Users do not have to create an account, register or sign up to use TRIP Talk. The app uses your phone's built-in GPS to stream nearby advisories.