DESOTO COUNTY, Miss. — The DeSoto County Visitors Center is closed after a tire popped off a tractor-trailer traveling down Interstate 55, bounced off the freeway, went through a fence and down a hill, and crashed through a window, where it smacked into a file cabinet full of paper and set it ablaze Sunday.
People said the tire was so hot, that the tire and papers burst into flames, causing enough damage that staff will have to move temporarily.
“It’s crazy. It’s something you don’t see every day," said Delbert Palmer, mitigation manager of Landmark Construction. "I’ve seen in the news in the past about a tire coming off and hitting something, but I’ve never witnessed the aftermath of it.”
No one was in the visitor's center offices when the tire broke off its tractor-trailer late Sunday night, so there were no injuries.
"You know, the building is the building. It’ll come back. But there’s just way too much to be thankful for," said Kim Terrell, executive director of DeSoto County Tourism.
The tourism offices will move to the nearby Landers Center until repairs can be made. Terrell said cleanup and repairs will probably take a couple of months, at a minimum.
“It’s probably going to take a while," Palmer said. "There’s extensive damage. We’re just here now to prevent secondary damage.”
Despite the damage and scary situation of what could have been, the tourism offices aren’t seeking a massive change.
“It was just one of those things that we think is a once-in-a-lifetime thing," Terrell said. "We’re not going to worry about it from this point forward.”
The driver of the truck with the missing tire got the truck off the road without any accident or issues.