Semi-truck explosion forces highway closure

GALLUP, N.M. (KRQE) – U.S. 491 is closed in both directions at mile marker 43 near Naschitti due to a semi-truck fire, according to NM Roads.

Communication Director Rick Abasta of Navajo Nation said the semi-truck, which was carrying hazardous materials, exploded around 6:40 a.m.

The director of Navajo Nation Department of Emergency Management, Rose Whitehair, said the evacuation order has been lifted for residents within two miles of the explosion site. Whitehair also said the fire has been extinguished.

Earlier reports indicated three fire crews responded to the fire. Abasta said those who were evacuated were asked to stay up wind from the fire.

The road is still closed at this time, and southbound traffic has been diverted onto Navajo Route 5 and NM 371. There is no detour for northbound traffic. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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