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Big rig crash near Grapevine starts brush fire and closes southbound 5 Freeway

Big rig crash near Grapevine starts brush fire and closes southbound 5 Freeway
A big rig crash sparked a 100-acre brush fire near Grapevine and temporarily closed the southbound lanes on Interstate 5. (Los Angeles Times)

Two big rigs — one of them carrying a tanker full of oil — collided Thursday on Interstate 5 near the Grapevine, sparking a wildfire, a hazmat response and a temporary freeway closure all in a matter of minutes.

The crash occurred about 2:30 p.m. in the freeway's southbound lanes south of Grapevine Road, where the highway begins its winding run through the Tejon Pass and slopes up and out of the Central Valley.

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California Highway Patrol dispatch logs show the escalating seriousness of the situation as witness calls flooded in reporting the crash and the tanker on fire, oil spilling, then its tractor fully engulfed and flames spreading to the nearby brush.

One person was hit with oil and hospitalized, said CHP Officer Justin Montooth.

"We have a pretty unique response for this — we have vehicle accident, the wildfire and the hazardous materials incident," said Kern County Fire Capt. Jason Knaggs.

Aircraft and fire engines descended on the area to assist in the firefight as well as the crash.

By 8:15 p.m., the blaze had grown to 338 acres, burning through dry grass and sparse brush. Knaggs said the fire was at least 50% contained and forward progress had been stopped.

One southbound freeway lane was reopened, but traffic remained heavy as crews continued to clean up the oil, he said.

For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna on Twitter.

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UPDATES:

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8:55 p.m.: This article was updated with additional details about the fire.

This article was originally published at 4:20 p.m.

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