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“Several explosions:” 4 trucks burned in fire near 6th and Layton; cause under investigation

MILWAUKEE -- Four trucks burned Thursday, Jan. 11 at a business near S. 6th St. and Layton Ave. in Milwaukee. Authorities were called to the scene shortly before 10 a.m. and it sent plumes of smoke into the air that could be seen for miles. It also shut down part of the interstate.

There were no injuries, but fire officials said the blaze caused $300,000 in damage.

We're told Mortle Trucking lost three trucks as a result of the fire. The trucks are used to transport asphalt and gravel.

Pilo's lost one truck.

It's believed an electrical issue caused the fire. The trucks were used to transport gravel and asphalt. They did not contain any hazardous material and the fuel tanks remained in tact.

Fire near 6th and Layton

Fire near 6th and Layton

"We had four dump truck semis that were fully involved in fire. They had a lot of alloy metal, which is significant because when you add water, it burns worse, so what we had to do was lay a supply line here all the way down there and we had master streams, which are deck guns, water towers with foam to put out the fires," said Battalion Chief Sean Slowey.

FOX6's viewers reported hearing explosions as the fire burned. Chief Slowey said that was a result of the tires blowing up.

"We were in the house and we just hear several explosions," Thaime Manez said.

"Pretty interesting because these tires are huge, obviously, and the only thing that’s left, there’s no rubber. It’s huge piles of steel cable which are in the tires," said Slowey.

Sheriff's officials had to temporarily close several lanes of traffic on I-43 due to limited visibility on the road due to the smoke from the fire.

Fire near 6th and Layton

The official cause of the fire is under investigation.

"According to the owner, they were winterized and not used in the last two weeks, so we’re guessing it was electrical in nature, but that’s what our arson investigators are trying to determine," said Slowey.

"Within an hour, I would say everything was under control, the street was back to normal, so we're glad it didn't get any bigger than that," Manez said.

Fire near 6th and Layton

Fire near 6th and Layton

Fire on Milwaukee's south side (Credit: Jacob D.)