Big rig carrying cheese crashes, catches fire on 5 Freeway

A big rig transporting a load of shredded cheese crashed into a guardrail on the Golden State (5) Freeway in Sun Valley early Friday and caught fire, completely halting southbound traffic for several hours.

The truck ignited almost immediately upon crashing at 3:41 a.m. near Sunland Boulevard, the California Highway Patrol reported.

The driver of the 2010 Freightliner truck/trailer combination, 55-year- old Thomas Rodriguez of Tulare, was treated at a hospital for minor injuries, the CHP reported.

Firefighters extinguished the flames in about a half-hour, and a hazmat team was summoned to the scene because a small amount of fuel leaked from the truck, according to the CHP.

One southbound lane was reopened shortly after 9 a.m., and another was reopened a short time afterward. The remaining lanes were reopened about noon, the CHP reported.

The cause of the crash was under investigation, but "alcohol and/or drugs are not considered to be a factor,'' according to a CHP statement.

Anyone with information on the crash was urged to call the CHP Altadena Area office at (626) 296-8100.

Portions of video used in this story are restricted to the Los Angeles area.

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