A gasoline tanker truck ignited early Friday on the northbound Ventura Freeway near Ventura, shooting columns of flames into the air and forcing the freeway to shut down for hours.
The truck driver, Donald Bland, 27, of Sylmar, contacted the California Highway Patrol about 12:50 a.m. from a freeway call box to report that the brakes on his truck had caught fire, authorities said.
When firefighters and CHP officers arrived, the tanker -- hauling 8,800 gallons of unleaded gasoline -- was fully engulfed, officers said. The flames, shooting 100 feet high, also set off a brush fire on a hillside, authorities said.
Bland was not hurt.
The CHP closed the freeway in both directions between the State Beaches and Seacliff exits and diverted traffic, while firefighters worked to put out the blaze.
All southbound lanes reopened about 5 a.m., and all northbound lanes were reopened by about 10:30 a.m., officers said.