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Pumpkin truck catches fire, closes southbound I-75

A fire involving a semi-truck carrying pumpkins shut down the southbound lanes of Interstate 75 near State Road 52 in Pasco County, backing up traffic for miles.

The Florida Highway Patrol reported the tractor-trailer was heading south on I-75 in the outside lane when it traveled into the gore -- the grassy area between the exit ramp and the travel lanes -- near the State Road 52 exit. The semi continued for several hundred feet before coming to a stop and erupting in flames.

The driver, Lortatia Marshall, 44, from Waynesboro, Georgia, escaped without any injuries.

The view from SkyFOX showed scattered and scorched pumpkins around the scene. Crews were using loaders and bulldozers to push the burned pumpkins out of the travel lanes while other teams got to work trying to move the damaged trailer.

Troopers say "extensive" roadway repairs, including repaving, were necessary before the lanes could reopen. They warned drivers to avoid the area as traffic backed up for miles.

By mid-afternoon, all I-75 lanes had reopened.