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Driver safe and thankful after I-81 truck fire

(WHSV)
Published: Jul. 20, 2016 at 9:57 PM EDT
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UPDATE (July 21):

By Caleb Stewart

The family of John Entrekin, who was the driver of the truck which caught on fire Wednesday night, has shared photos from the scene with WHSV, as well as some photos of his injuries.

Those photos can be found in a slideshow at the bottom of this article, along with a Facebook post from the family.

They would also like to share the following message with everyone who was involved in helping at the scene:

Our family would like to thank all of the compassionate and kind people who stopped and helped our loved one tonight. Big thanks to the two drivers who stopped and pulled him out. Whoever you are, just know that we appreciate your acts of kindness. Thank you to all of the law enforcement, EMS, and fire department. From the state trooper who stayed with him to the wrecker driver for picking him up at the hospital, lady from the store and anyone else who stopped and helped. God bless you all. He has a huge family that loves him very much in Purvis, Mississippi and words cannot express our gratitude for the help he has received tonight in the state of Virginia. Most importantly we are blessed that he's ok. Thank you Lord...in regards to the I-81 S truck fire.

_____

ORIGINAL STORY (July 20):

By Terry Ward

Around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, a vehicle fire near m.m. 299 near Strasburg closed the I-81 southbound traffic lanes.

VDOT traffic cameras around 9:45 showed some traffic trying to creep around the incident response by using the left shoulder. VDOT signage around 9:55 said the right lane and Exit 298 were blocked.

The Shenandoah County Sheriff's Office said on its Facebook page that it was a "truck fire." The type of truck was not specified.

In the night's 10 o'clock hour, VDOT traffic cameras showed emergency vehicles continuing to block the beginning of the exit ramp. Some determined drivers meaning to use the closed exit were cutting across the grass to reach the off-ramp, making a possible road hazard for motorists behind them.

Traffic attempting to reach I-81 from I-66 WB was at a standstill.

At 10:45 p.m., the GoogleMaps traffic flow tool estimated the travel time to go through the four miles of I-81 S backups at 45 minutes. GoogleMaps said going from I-66 W onto I-81 S would take 31 minutes.

Near midnight, VDOT said the site was clear.

WHSV has a traffic flow page online

[ here ].

This is a developing story. WHSV will update the information as new detail comes in from our inquiries and from official sources.

Our family would like to thank all of the compassionate and kind people who stopped and helped our loved one tonight....

Posted by Lisa Keahey on Thursday, July 21, 2016