Officials seek cause of semi-tractor trailer fire

Smoke billows Wednesday from a semi-tractor trailer fire on U.S. 52/61/151 in Dubuque. The driver escaped unharmed.

A semi-tractor trailer hauling a crane erupted into flames along a highway in Dubuque on Wednesday, but officials said the cause of the blaze is unknown.

Emergency responders were first notified of the fire, on U.S. 52/61/151 South near the Locust Street exit, at 1:40 p.m., according to Dubuque police Lt. Scott Baxter.

By the time the first officer arrived at the scene, the semi's cab was fully engulfed, and the driver, Jeffrey M. Sevier, 40, of Silvis, Ill., had escaped unharmed.

Fire crews soon responded as well, but the semi is considered a total loss. Baxter said traffic was rerouted for about 40 minutes as the fire was extinguished and the semi was towed away.

Capt. Russ Stecklein said an inspector from the Iowa Department of Transportation is investigating the cause of the fire.

Sevier was driving for Black Hawk Foundation Co., of Geneseo, according to police.

The 40-plus-ton crane he was hauling was destined for UnityPoint Health-Finley Hospital, which is undergoing a $42 million, 70,000-square-foot expansion project.

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