Truck fire destroys N95 masks, medical gowns

Coronavirus

CARTHAGE, Tenn. — A truckload of medical masks and protective surgical gowns were destroyed when a tractor-trailer caught fire on a highway in Tennessee, news outlets reported.

First responders told WKRN-TV at the scene in Smith County Saturday that N95 masks and special hospital gowns were among the items ruined.

Shortages of these masks, which filter out 95% of all airborne particles, have created high demand among medical workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. It was unclear where the shipment was headed.

Photos posted by news outlets on social media showed the frame of the charred vehicle smoking, with dozens of cardboard boxes strewn along the road reportedly carrying the masks. Green bundles that appeared to be surgical gowns were pictured laying in the wreckage.

The fire started in a rear wheel and spread, officials told news outlets. The driver was not seriously injured, authorities said.

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