18-wheeler slams into light poles, causing massive fire on Highway 281 near Hildebrand

(SBG San Antonio photo)

UPDATE on Thursday, September 13th: All lanes of Highway 281, north and southbound, have reopened.

UPDATE (9:25 P.M.):

The northbound lanes of Highway 281 have reopened. The southbound will reopen in about two hours, according to TxDOT.


An overturned 18-wheeler lost control and slammed into a two light poles Wednesday afternoon, causing a large fire on the highway.

(Video courtesy: Jeffrey Weissman)

Authorities were called to Highway 281 near Hildebrand at about 11:30 a.m. for reports of a vehicle fire. Police said a 18-wheeler hauling plastic or cotton lost control in the northbound lane of the highway, collided with two light poles and struck a Ford truck traveling southbound on the highway. The accident caused a massive fire that will close both directions of the highway for several hours, police said.

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Police said a Good Samaritan broke the window of the 18-wheeler and pulled the driver out before it fully burst into flames. No one was injured in the accident and the fire is between 80 and 90 percent out, police said said. Slick conditions and speed may have been a factor in the accident, but authorities are still investigating the cause.

"It's amazing that no one was injured or killed," said San Antonio police spokesman Doug Greene. "It was a huge fire and a violent accident. It's amazing that the driver was able to walk away."

The Texas Department of Transportation said drivers should "expect closures for hours" along Highway 281. The fire caused some damage to signage on the highway and it's unclear if the sign is stable enough. Police are working with transportation officials to make sure the freeway is still safe for other drivers.

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