UPDATE:  A show horse was killed Friday morning in a truck fire near Cleveland. The tractor-trailer transporting the horse caught fire around 3:30 a.m. The two drivers were able to make it out of the truck with no injuries.

The truck was carrying an Arabian show horse from Lexington, Kentucky to Florida for an equestrian show. The identity of the horse hasn't been released, but people familiar with the equestrian world tell Channel 3, it was a very prestigious show horse. 

“The tractor-trailer went off the side of the road, went through some guardrail. He ruptured his fuel tanks, therefore the fire started,” said Bradley County Fire Chief Shawn Fairbanks. “The fire was so hot it even melted the asphalt.”

A morning truck fire, had crews working well into the afternoon to clean up burned debris and rubble from I-75 in Cleveland. “Reports came in that there was an explosion; we think that was from the tires. There was no hazardous chemicals being hauled, it was actually hauling livestock.”

For nearly five hours the southbound lanes of the interstate were shut down and at a standstill. Traffic was backed up several miles while crews rerouted morning drivers. “Going down South Lee or people could go down Harrison Pike, down Mayhem Gap. Very inconvenient but due to the situation.”

The accident required extensive cleanup. Environmental crews were called in to remove the oil from the road. “The process took a little while to get out because the fire was burning so hot because of the amount of diesel fuel that was on the ground. Then the tires were on fire that caused a lot of heat.”

Why the driver veered off the side of the road is still under investigation.

PREVIOUS STORY: A tractor-trailer that caught on fire early Friday morning was a horse transport trailer.

The lone horse in the trailer died in the fire.

The two drivers were able to make it out of the cab. 

The cause is still under investigation.

Tennessee Highway Patrol says the accident will require extensive cleanup.

Traffic had been shut down so crews could clean up oil from the roadway. 

PREVIOUS STORY: Interstate 75 southbound in Cleveland has re-opened to traffic after a semi-truck fire closed the roadway overnight.

Exits 20 and 25 have also been re-opened with police allowing traffic back onto the interstates in both directions.

PREVIOUS STORY: A semi fire on Interstate 75 southbound south of APD 40 in Cleveland has closed all of the southbound lanes near milemarker 17. Southbound lanes are closed as of 7:00am. Traffic is being diverted at Exits 20 and 25. Drivers should expect delays.

The fire from the vehicle spread into the woods, complicating matters for first responders.

There's no word on injuries to those involved.

TDOT expects to re-open the roadway at 8:00am but drivers should avoid the area if possible.

Stay with Channel 3 as we learn more.