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CAJON PASS — A fire that broke out just after 11:30 a.m. Wednesday forced the closure of two lanes of northbound Interstate 15 at Highway 138, causing a Sig Alert in the area and leading to multiple traffic collisions.
Firefighters doused the blaze and no injuries were caused by the fire, but traffic was snarled for hours. All northbound lanes were reopened just after 4:15 p.m. according to California Highway Patrol incident logs, but traffic remained slow in the area as firefighters were still mopping up the scene Wednesday evening.
The No. 1 and 2 lanes of the northbound I-15 were closed while the San Bernardino County Fire Department, Cal Fire and the National Forest Service battled a blaze that started with a vehicle fire. An overheating car pulled over into the brush on the right side of the highway and sparked the fire, authorities said.
The San Bernardino County Fire Department reported the blaze grew to nearly 5 acres around noon before its forward progress was stopped and crews began pulling out of the area.
CHP logs reported a Sig-Alert was issued just after 12:15 p.m. in the area of the northbound I-15 at Cleghorn Road.
San Bernardino County Department spokesman Jay Hausman said county firefighters were assisting the Forest Service with the fire as well as handling nearby traffic collisions.
“We are ... assisting Forest Service but handling multiple traffic accidents possibly due to the fire on the 15,” Hausman said.
Three crashes occurred in the pass within one hour of the fire breaking out, according to Hausman.
Just after noon, County Fire crews responded to a single-vehicle collision on the southbound I-15 at the truck scales. Hausman said the vehicle had major damage and one person was transported by ambulance with critical injuries to a trauma center.
A second collision was reported at 12:12 p.m. Three vehicles had collided on the northbound I-15 north of Highway 138 in front of the scales on the northbound side of the freeway. The cars were blocking multiple lanes, but all four victims refused transport and had only minor injuries, Hausman said.
Less than 10 minutes later, at 12:18 p.m., another collision just north of the second one occurred and blocked multiple lanes. One patient was transported with minor injuries.
“There is a possibility the collisions were caused because of the fire, but CHP will be investigating the exact cause,” Hausman said. “The fire did cause traffic problems throughout the pass into the Devore area.”
Anneli Fogt can be reached at AFogt@VVDailyPress.com or 760-951-6276.