At approximately 7:26 p.m. Friday, the Wharton Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched to the scene of a vehicle fire in front of a Motel 6, 9985 U.S. 59 in Wharton.
When Wharton firefighter Ryan Salazar arrived, he saw what seemed to be a road crew and construction vehicle, which applies paint to roadways, fully-engulfed in flames.
‘The truck just went up in flames and with everything on there — the fuel, plastics, tires — all were combustible objects that just lit and burned.’
“We looked at the scene and sized it up to see what we were dealing with,” Salazar told The County Gin. “We got over the radio and heard that there were possibly three full tanks of diesel. We had to make sure, do our full 360 and visualize what kind of fire we were about to put out. Once we established that, then we did a full offensive attack on the vehicle to put out the fire.”
With the assistance of Glen Flora Volunteer Fire Department, as well as the Wharton Police Department directing traffic, two tankers and two engines tackled the blaze.
“There were almost 500 to 600 feet of hose laid for the water supply from the fire hydrant to the truck and then from the truck, a hose line to extinguish the vehicle,” Salazar said, explaining what first responders believe to be the cause of the incident. “I think they were working on a hydraulic hose line and it busted on them. They already got the tan heated for the paint to apply it and it got too hot for that hydraulic fluid and just lit.
“The truck just went up in flames and with everything on there — the fuel, plastics, tires — all were combustible objects that just lit and burned.”
The driver was not inside the vehicle when firefighters arrived at the scene. It is unclear whether there were other crewmen in the truck at the time of ignition; however, there were no reported injuries, according to Salazar.
Approximately two hours after the initial dispatch, responders cleared the scene.