Van filled with fireworks explodes, traffic backed up from Las Vegas to L.A.

A van stocked with fireworks ignited Thursday afternoon on Interstate 15 near Barstow, sending sparks flying and snarling traffic on the busy freeway connecting Los Angeles and Las Vegas, authorities said.

The Chevrolet box van began burning shortly before 1:30 p.m. on the southbound shoulder of the freeway near Yates Wells Road, about five miles from the California-Nevada border, said California Highway Patrol Officer Ryan Camara.

"The fireworks were exploding inside," San Bernardino County Fire Department spokeswoman Tracey Martinez said. "The truck burned to the ground."

All southbound lanes were closed for about an hour as firefighters battled the blaze, backing up traffic into Nevada, authorities said.

The driver of the van fled before the CHP arrived on the scene, Camara said. It is unclear whether the fireworks were legal for residential use.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the CHP office in Barstow at (760) 255-8700.

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