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Big rig catches fire on Highway 99 in Merced County, snarling traffic

Driver escapes injury in Merced County big rig fire

Emergency crews respond to the scene of a big rig fire on southbound Highway 99 near Atwater, Calif., on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. According to authorities the driver was not injured.
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Emergency crews respond to the scene of a big rig fire on southbound Highway 99 near Atwater, Calif., on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. According to authorities the driver was not injured.

Traffic backed up along Highway 99 as crews responded to a big rig fire Wednesday afternoon.

According to California Highway Patrol Officer Noe Lomeli, officers responded to the call at about 3:11pm.

The driver of the big rig, Daniel Gokul of Sacramento, said he was driving along Highway 99 when the truck started smoking.

Gokul said he pulled over and exited the vehicle before it caught fire.

Authorities said the truck’s trailer was empty at the time of the fire.

The driver of the big rig was not injured and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

One lane of traffic was expected to remain closed for approximately three hours as crews work to recover the vehicle.

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