CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) - It is the fire that thousands of Chattanoogans saw as their Friday rush hour afternoon slowed to a snail's pace.

A tractor trailer fire pushed thick black smoke across both side of I-24 at the Ridgecut. At sometimes, it was almost impossible to see.

Joel Gordon was driving the truck when it happened on I-24 westbound near Rossville Boulevard. He says while riding on the interstate, he had no clue flames were creeping up the side of the truck towards the engine. Other drivers alerted him.

Gordon tells Channel 3 he immediately pulled it over to the shoulder. That's when he and another passenger jumped out the doors and took off running. He says once they saw the flames shooting out of the hood, they panicked.

Surprisingly both men escaped without injuries.

Hazmat crews were out working in the smoldering temperatures trying to douse the flames while T-DOT and police held drivers at bay.

The ordeal left traffic snarled for about three hours.

Gordon says he feels lucky to be alive.