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Truck trailer airbag explodes during fire

An exploding airbag beneath a semi-truck trailer generated a loud boom during a fire on Interstate 5 Wednesday night, about two miles from the north Medford exit.

The truck driver had to stop just before 11 p.m. near milepost 28 when a malfunction with one of his brakes caused it to heat up and eventually spark a fire on one side of the trailer, according to Medford Fire-Rescue Deputy Chief Justin Bates.

The two occupants of the truck tried to put the fire out with a fire extinguisher but were unsuccessful and called 911.

About six minutes after the call, dispatch received a report of an explosion heard by someone in the 500 block of Willamette Avenue. One of the airbags beneath the trailer, intended to cushion the load, had burst because of the flames.

“It heated up to the point where it exploded, made a big boom,” Bates said. “That’s how those two calls got associated together.”

No one was injured. The semi was later towed from the scene.