You cheddar believe it: Witnesses mourn as 9,000kg of cheese goes up in flames

Staff Reporter
Trailer fire

Bystanders were left heartbroken after a semi-truck transporting more than 9,000kg of cheese went up in flames in West Allis, Wisconsin. No street fondue parties were reported following the incident.

According to the fire department, the driver was on the highway when he noticed his brakes were on fire. He pulled over at an Office Max and tried to tackle the blaze himself, but to no avail.

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With little success, the driver disconnected the cab and contacted emergency services. West Allis Fire Department Assistant Chief Kurt Zellmann said: "It's a very difficult fire once the cheese gets going."

He added: "We also had a diesel fuel tank on the refrigerated trailer rupture, so the combination of cheese and diesel fuel made for a pretty hot fire." Responders had to use foam to tackle the flames.

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Explaining the tactics to fight the blaze, Zellmann said: "Because the contents of the trailer were packed so tightly and it was on fire inside, we decided to bring in a front-end loader to open it up so we could get water in and make sure the fire was completely extinguished."

West Allis Fire Department posted pictures of the aftermath on its Twitter page. There was cheesy de brie all over the place.

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While nobody was physically hurt in the incident on Tuesday (18 April), emotions over the fate of the truck's contents ran high. The vehicle was packed with Kraft and Velveeta cheese.

Some people gathered to witness the grilled cheese inferno, while others hoped for a high-yield outcome.

"I'm a little upset I didn't get here earlier," witness Amber Matthews was quoted as saying at the time by Tuscon News Now. "I think I might want to rummage through it. We'll be eating good tonight if I can get some cheese."

Officials from the fire department praised the driver's actions and said he took the correct course of action by pulling up in a large open car park away from buildings.

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