Four semitruck tractors and five trailers caught fire early Saturday morning, according to local officials, but details remain scant.
The Vancouver Fire Department was first alerted at 6:36 a.m. to the burning semitrucks parked behind a chain-link fence at 2501 S.E. Columbia Way.
Crews extinguished the flames after a little more than two hours, said Battalion Chief John Bulder, but the cause is still unknown and under investigation.
The semitrucks burned behind the headquarters for Mitchell Bros. Truck Line, a Vancouver-based trucking company. Representatives of the company declined to comment. It was unclear whether the semitrucks belonged to the company or if they were merely being stored at the lot.
Curt Piesch, a hazardous materials specialist with the Washington Department of Ecology who responded to the scene, said one trailer carried steel, one carried plastic crates, one carried electronics and two were empty.
Piesch said his main responsibility was to clean the diesel gas, hydraulic fluid and more that spilled during the fire and firefighting efforts. He said most of it was cleaned up, but some follow-ups will be required.
But Piesch, a 24-year veteran of the department, said he felt for the truck drivers.
“It’s not just an oil spill, these are four families that have lost their ability to make an income,” he said of the truck drivers. “It’s not just a semitruck burn. It’s four businesses, really.”