FAIRBANKS - A tractor-trailer full of Walmart merchandise caught on fire behind the Fairbanks superstore along the Johansen Expressway late this afternoon, creating a display of flames and billowing smoke.
Brian Davis, a battalion chief with the Fairbanks Fire Department, said a semi-tractor driver pulling a load into Walmart reported the fire after he noticed smoke coming from the trailer. The fire inside, which contained a mixed load of merchandise, intensified once the trailer was opened and fresh air entered.
Crews tore holes in the sides of the trailer to provide better access to the fire, and took a methodical approach to fighting the blaze amid temperatures hovering around minus 40 degrees. Firefighters cycled in and out from the blaze, stopping periodically to rest in an orange inflatable dome to warm up.
“The damage is already done,” Davis said at the scene. “There’s no sense in getting firefighters hurt over it.”
Dozens of firefighters responded to the blaze before 4 p.m., including crews from the city of Fairbanks, Fort Wainwright, University Fire Department and North Star Volunteer Fire Department.
The cause of the fire wasn’t immediately clear at the scene.
Contact staff writer Jeff Richardson at 459-7572.