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CHP: Driver 'severely burned' in big-rig fire on 710 Freeway

CHP: Driver 'severely burned' in big-rig fire on 710 Freeway
A map shows the approximate location of where a big rig caught fire on the 710 Freeway in Commerce. (Google Maps)

The driver of a big rig was "severely burned" Sunday after his truck caught fire on the 710 Freeway in Commerce, sending thick, black smoke billowing into the air and closing the roadway, officials said.

The southbound side of the freeway remained closed hours after the crash, which was reported shortly after 9:30 a.m. near the Washington Boulevard offramp, California Highway Patrol officials said. The northbound lanes — which were also closed — had reopened by about 11 a.m.

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CHP Officer Monica Posada said the driver suffered severe burns in the incident, but it was not immediately known if other injuries were reported. Some area homes were also evacuated as Los Angeles County firefighters worked to douse the flames.

There were initially conflicting reports about whether one or two trucks were involved, but Posada said it was just one. Television footage showed the twisted, charred remains of the rig dangling over the guardrail on the southbound side of the freeway, stretching down to railroad tracks below.

It was not immediately known how the rig caught fire, Posada said.

CHP said the southbound lanes of the freeway would remain closed "until further notice."

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