What started out as a run-of-the mill construction truck fire in Newport wound up as a nail-biter for a few split seconds Wednesday afternoon.
A young construction worker was driving a flatbed truck along Highway 101, enroute to the county courthouse where Lieder Construction has been doing some building modification work on the bottom floor. As his vehicle, laden with new wall insulation motored along, the driver said smoke started wafting up from under the hood.
Smartly, the driver headed for a side road so as to not have a fire in the middle of an interstate highway. He headed down NW Neff, came to a stop and got out. In a few minutes Newport firefighters were shooting water into the flatbed’s engine compartment.
Once the fire was out and firefighters were rolling up their hoses, the owner of the truck, who had arrived on scene just earlier, was inside the flatbed when it suddenly lurched forward and down the hill toward the fire engine. Firefighters scattered. The owner yanked the truck’s steering wheel to the right, barely missing the fire engine, the flatbed coming to rest against a decorative cement wall.
Damage to the wall was minor but the incident took out a mailbox and a city fire hydrant which immediately began leaking. The hydrant was expected to be replaced before the end of the day.
No word on why the flatbed broke loose. Rowley’s did the honors by clearing the scene of the flatbed and the fire debris.
There were no injuries.