405 Freeway lanes in Costa Mesa reopen after truck fire, chemical spill cause shutdown


All lanes of the southbound 405 Freeway in Costa Mesa were reopened late Tuesday morning after chemical containers on the back of a burning truck burst, sending hazardous liquid onto the freeway and prompting a closure that created a traffic backup for miles, according to the California Highway Patrol.

A fire in a truck was reported around 9:40 a.m. on the shoulder just past the Harbor Boulevard onramp, CHP Officer Denise Quesada said.

When firefighters arrived and began to extinguish the flames, they realized the truck was carrying air-conditioning repair equipment including multiple tanks of Freon and propane, Costa Mesa fire Capt. Chris Coates said.

Some of the tanks exploded in the fire, Coates said.

No injuries were reported. Two people in the truck got out safely, Quesada said.

Crews doused the flames, but water and fire-suppressing foam tainted with the hazardous chemicals from the truck ran onto lanes, prompting the freeway closure, according to authorities.

The southbound Harbor Boulevard on-ramp also was shut down.

A hazardous-materials crew from Huntington Beach used absorbent to contain the runoff so the CHP could open the carpool and No. 1 lanes, Coates said

Once the rest of the water and foam had been cleaned up or evaporated, the entire freeway was reopened around 11:30 a.m., according to the Fire Department.

Investigators are looking into why the truck caught fire.