SUMMIT — An overnight truck fire on Route 78 caused problems during Wednesday morning's commute.

Delay on Route 78 in Summit
Delay on Route 78 in Summit (NJ DOT)

The driver of a truck carrying a load of blankets pulled over just before exit 45 for Glenside Avenue in Summit around 3:30 a.m. when he smelled smoke, according to State Police spokesman Lt. Ted Schafer.

Efforts to put out the flames by firefighters from Springfield in Union County went on for several hours. The blankets had to be offloaded to make sure the fire was completely out, Schafer said.

A hazardous material crew also responded to off load the truck's fully loaded fuel tanks as a precaution, Schafer said.

It's not known where the truck was headed.

Two westbound lanes were initially blocked and then just the right lane was closed to traffic, creating mulit-mile backups and an eastbound rubbernecking delay. All lanes were reopened by 8 a.m.

Schafer said no other vehicle was involved in the incident and the driver was not injured.

It's the second morning in a row the morning commute was disrupted by a major problem. At least 16 cars got flat tires on Route 78 east at Route 22 in Clinton from metal beams dropped onto the road. One car suffered a broken axle, according to State Police.

Police are still looking for the driver of the truck that dropped the beams. Anyone with information about the truck or the driver should call the State Police Perryville Station at 908-730-7042.

Do you have pictures of the fire to share? Contact reporter Dan Alexander at

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