photo by John Schreiber.

A motorist was killed and another person suffered moderate injuries Thursday in a fiery collision involving a box truck and car on Interstate 15 in Temecula.

Traffic was backed up for miles as authorities shut down lanes as the blaze was extinguished and wreckage was cleared.

The crash happened about 12:30 p.m. on southbound I-15 near Rancho California Road, according to the California Highway Patrol. The truck and sedan collided in the middle of the freeway, triggering a fire in the larger vehicle.

Murrieta Fire & Rescue and Riverside County Fire Department crews reached the location within a few minutes and knocked down the blaze just before 1 p.m., according to reports from the scene.

One person was pronounced dead at the scene and the injured victim was taken to Inland Valley Regional Medical Center in Wildomar for treatment.

CHP officers shut down three of four southbound lanes to facilitate first responders and clear the wreckage. A SigAlert was issued at 12:55 p.m. for both sides of I-15 due to major traffic congestion stemming from the crash.

The CHP said that the multi-lane closure on the southbound side could last most of the afternoon.

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