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WB lanes clogged on I-4 in Polk after semi-trailer fire and unrelated crash

A 62-year-old man escaped without injury from a semi-trailer fire on Interstate 4 in Lakeland. [Florida Highway Patrol]
A 62-year-old man escaped without injury from a semi-trailer fire on Interstate 4 in Lakeland. [Florida Highway Patrol]
Published Oct. 29, 2018

Two separate crashes on Interstate 4 in Polk County caused traffic backups for motorists traveling toward Tampa early Monday morning, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

The first crash closed westbound lanes in Lakeland after a semi-trailer transporting sweet potatoes caught fire around 5:10 a.m. near mile marker 35, troopers said.

The driver, 62-year-old Steven Tillman of Orlando, exited to the emergency shoulder as the semi-trailer experienced a mechanical issue and became engulfed in flames. Troopers say nobody was injured in the incident.

The second crash came shortly after, troopers say, closing westbound lanes near mile marker 40 just west of Polk Parkway.

Lanes are now reopened at both sites, troopers said, but motorists can expect delays.

This is a developing story. Stay with tampabay.com for updates.