A pickup truck owned by a Hawthorne construction contractor was destroyed Oct. 3 when it caught fire.

This truck caught fire at about noon on Oct. 3. Mineral County fire crews responded to and extinguished the blaze within about half an hour. (C.W. Wilkinson photo)

A pickup truck owned by a Hawthorne construction contractor was destroyed Oct. 3 when it caught fire.

Both of the occupants of the truck, which is owned by G-Dub’s Construction, escaped the blaze unharmed. The truck burned at about noon near the intersection of C Street and 7th Street

“According to the driver of the truck, [he and his passenger] smelled fuel, they pulled over and got out to look, and there was flames coming out from underneath the vehicle,” said T.C. Knight, Mineral County Fire Chief.

After the occupants unsuccessfully tried to put out the fire by throwing dirt on it, they called 911, Knight said.

As fire crews arrived, orange flames and smoke rolled out from the truck’s undercarriage. A flammable liquid dripped from the bottom of the truck and burned on the asphalt, and the front passenger side tire appears to have also been engulfed in flames.

Fire crews arrived only moments after the fire started.

“Instead of pulling what we call an attack line, which is the lines up on top [of the fire engines] that we would use for a normal structure fire, there’s a bumper line, just about 150 feet of hose,” Knight said. “[…] Not a lot of water. We probably only used about 500 gallons of water to put that fire out, compared to the thousands of gallons of water we use to put a structure fire out.”

Knight said the fire department responded faster than usual, because several firefighters were at the station for training related to Mineral County High School’s bonfire rally later that night.

“Usually with the volunteers, we page them out, drive to the fire station and come down here, we kinda got lucky today, they were all kinda sitting around the station, just hanging out,” Knight said.

Knight was referring to the system dispatchers use to summon crews to emergencies. A long tone, called a page, is transmitted over the radios, followed by a dispatcher calling the needed crews to their stations.

By the time firefighters had extinguished the blaze, the front half of the truck was utterly destroyed. Flames had peeled away the paint, leaving the grey, singed metal visible beneath.

The blaze torched the interior of the cab and melted the plastic covers of the headlights.

“Our biggest concerns today was with the occupants of the truck,” Knight said. “They got out safely and were able to call 911, so that’s a great day for us.”