Pair of vehicle fires keep crews hustling
Firefighter put out blazes in truck at Frito-Lay plant, car
Monday, June 28, 2010
A flaming truck sent up a plume of black smoke from the Frito-Lay plant on Northwest Fruit Valley Road on Monday afternoon and, on the other side of Vancouver, another smoke plume marked the site where three people escaped injury when their car caught fire.
The Vancouver Fire Department was called to Frito-Lay at 2:19 p.m. Monday and arrived six minutes later, said Firefighter-spokesman Jim Flaherty.
Company employees met them at the entrance, told them no one was inside the truck cab and guided them to a parking lot where the 2004 International semi tractor was engulfed in flames.
Firefighters attached a heavy 5-inch hose to a hydrant about 150 feet away and had the fire under control in 10 minutes.
The tractor, worth about $30,000, was destroyed, Flaherty said. No one was reported injured.
The fire was believed to be caused by a fuel-related mechanical problem in the engine compartment. Employees previously knew there was a problem with the truck but hadn’t had a chance to fix it before the fire started, Flaherty said.
Fortunately, the tractor had no trailer attached and had been parked away from other vehicles and buildings, Flaherty said.
Employees “clearly had a fire plan” and “did a good job,” he said.
Before firefighters arrived, employees had secured the fire area by keeping employees away and making sure no one drove close by.
When firefighters reached the plant at 4808 Fruit Valley, employees briefed them on the situation, including that no additional fuels were stored near the blazing truck. Employees also blocked an interior road where firefighters laid out their hydrant line, Flaherty said.
It would be a bad day for vehicle fires.
At 4:52 p.m. Monday, more than two hours after the Frito-Lay fire was reported, firefighters were called to another vehicle fire that was called in from the 5500 block of East Evergreen Boulevard. A column of smoke was visible to motorists on state Highway 14 near Blandford Drive.
A man and woman and their daughter had been driving around looking for the nearby Shorewood Condominiums when smoke from the engine compartment came into the passenger area of their 2000 Dodge Stratus. They pulled over by a field and exited the car.
Firefighters arrived in six minutes to find the car engulfed in flames, Flaherty said. They extinguished the blaze, which did not start a grass fire.
The car, worth $2,000, was destroyed.
The fire started in the engine area and a mechanical problem was the likely cause, as in the case of the Frito-Lay truck fire, Flaherty said.