A semitrailer filled with barrels of liquid cheese burned in a fire on Interstate 65 just north of the U.S. 31 exit in Bartholomew County.

German Township volunteer firefighters were sent to the scene at 8:24 p.m. Wednesday, where they found heavy fire coming from the rear of the trailer.

The truck driver, who was not identified, told firefighters he had picked up the cheese in Wisconsin and was heading south, nearing the U.S. 31 exit, when he noticed his trailer brakes were smoking.

Before he could pull over, fire appeared in the trailer and a tire blew out from the heat, firefighters said.

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The driver stopped and unhooked the trailer, driving the cab away to prevent it from catching on fire, firefighters said.

The firefighters were able to contain the fire to the rear of the trailer, preventing it from spreading to the fuel tank for the trailer’s refrigeration unit.

The southbound interstate lanes were closed from 8:30 p.m. Wednesday until 1:30 a.m. Thursday, firefighters said.

Firefighters left the scene at 10:30 p.m. but returned at 12:30 a.m. to help clean the cheese off the roadway.

Bartholomew County sheriff’s deputies assisted with traffic control during the fire and cleanup. No injuries were reported.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.