An accident involving a car and two semi-trailers caused officials to close part of I-80 on Tuesday afternoon. The interstate was closed at mile marker 303 between LeClaire and Middle Road.
Three people walked away from a heap of twisted metal and burned rubber with only minor injuries. Police say a small traffic jam around 4pm led to a much more dangerous situation.
"We were down to one lane due to road construction and, for some reason, that lane had stopped," said Sgt. Dave Kaszinski of the Iowa State Patrol. "The semi stopped and the car stopped behind it and then another semi came up, not realizing the two were stopped, and ran into the back of the car."
Just moments after the initial crash, the car and the truck burst into a ball of flames. Thick black smoke could be seen from as far away as 10 miles.
"In the trailer of the semi was about 29,000 lbs of paper," said Bettendorf Fire Chief Gerry Voelliger, "which naturally fueled the fire."
Interstate 80 was completely shut down for some time while crews worked to clear the wreckage. A team of state troopers, firefighters and police from LeClaire and Bettendorf teamed up to keep the scene under control and, more importantly, to keep everyone else traveling through the area safely.
"Through teamwork, we were able to get this thing open," said Kaszinski. "As you can see from the charred remains of both vehicles, the fact that anybody walked away from this is an absolute miracle."
No charges have been filed in the accident.