SIDNEY — Officials said the cause of a trailer fire on Interstate 95 near mile 122 Wednesday morning that stalled the morning commute is “undetermined,” but appears to have started in the axle.

The 14-foot utility trailer caught fire around 7 a.m., according to Waterville fire Captain Drew Corey. Curt Hopkins, 45, of Pittsfield, is a professional mover who was hauling the trailer, full of furniture and clothes, to Florida for a client, Corey said.

Alerted to the fire by a passerby, Hopkins pulled his truck to the breakdown lane of I-95 and detached the trailer near the new Sidney-Waterville exit currently under construction at mile 124. He tried to extinguish the flames with a fire extinguisher first before realizing the fire was too strong and calling for help. He was not injured during the incident.

 

The trailer was destroyed, and the fire damaged the pavement and a sign owned by the state Department of Transportation, said rescue technician Dan Brown.

Firefighters used foam and water to put out the flames in about 20 minutes, he said.

Brown said the cause is unknown, but it most likely started in the axle, where bearings and grease can heat up. Regular maintenance and inspections can prevent this from happening, Brown said, but he added that “anything’s possible” even with maintenance.

Maine State Police shut down both southbound lanes on the interstate, causing a backup of cars that reached from Sidney to Main Street in Waterville — some 8 miles away. Traffic was disrupted for about an hour.

Both Waterville and Sidney fire departments responded to the scene.

This story will be updated.

Madeline St. Amour — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @madelinestamour