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Multi-Vehicle Fire Closes Highway 58 Tunnel east of Oakridge
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
(503) 731-3020 ext. 247

Photograph links valid 30 days - Source: Oregon State Police
According to OSP Trooper Nicholas Hagedorn, on July 30, 2011 at approximately 9:21 p.m. OSP, local fire departments and ODOT personnel responded to a reported motor vehicle fire on Highway 58 near milepost 57 at the tunnel's east side. Upon arrival it was learned that four vehicles were involved but all occupants were out of their vehicles.
Preliminary investigation indicates a 1983 Cruiseaier motor home towing a Volkswagen Bug was being driven by RICKY SIKEL, age 57, from Centrailia, Washington eastbound when the motor home's engine overheated. As it lost power and started to smoke, SIKEL brought it to a stop inside the tunnel just before it exited the east end.
Due to heavy smoke and limited visibility, a 1996 Ford van towing a small boat trailer driven by THOMAS HUNN, age 67, from Dexter, collided into the rear of the Volkswagen and rolled onto its side. Shortly after this collision, an eastbound 1993 Chevrolet Suburban collided into the boat trailer. Occupants of the involved vehicles escaped before the motor home, Volkswagen, and van were engulfed in flames.
Highway 58 was completely blocked and the fire burned for approximately one hour before it was extinguished by fire personnel from Oakridge Fire Department, Crescent EMS, Central Cascade EMS, and US Forest Service Department.

The motor home was occupied by four adults, one juvenile, and two small dogs. The Ford van had two occupants. Information on the occupants in the Chevrolet Suburban is pending, but troopers did confirm two occupants, including a juvenile, were transported to a Lane County area hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

ODOT handled traffic control and the tunnel was to be inspected by a structural engineer to determine safety for traffic to continue through. The fire inside the tunnel got so hot that part of the cement tunnel walls peeled off and the lighting system was destroyed.
OSP troopers from Oakridge and Springfield offices responded along with ODOT personnel from Oakridge, LaPine, and Chemult.