CLINTON — A car carrier that caught fire late in the Friday commute caused big delays on Route 78.

The driver noticed smoke coming from the back of carrier hauling nine cars, and pulled over to the right shoulder near exit 16 for Route 173 in Clinton around 8:45 a.m., according to Sgt. Lawrence Peele, a State Police spokesman.

Peele said the drive tried to put out the fire using his fire extinguisher, but the flames grew quickly. Peele said he did not know how many vehicles were damaged.

Fire crews from Clinton and Lebanon Township responded to the fire and took up two lanes as they put out the fire creating a multi-mile delay. All lanes were reopened around 10 a.m.

Peete said the driver was not hurt and investigation has not yet determined what caused the fire.

It's the second mishap on Route 78 in the past two days. Two sheds being transported by a flatbed truck fell onto the eastbound lanes near Route 287 creating a delay as a crane lifted the sheds off the highway.

State Police did not yet disclosed a reason as the investigation into the incident is ongoing.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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