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Burning Army truck ties up US-77

Staff writer

An Army truck that caught fire Saturday afternoon on US-77 near Zebulon Rd. and became fully engulfed in flame tied up emergency responders for nearly four hours.

Burns firefighters, summoned at 4:38 p.m., were on the scene nearly two hours. Florence firefighters were summoned to assist, but a call for them was later canceled.

Interim emergency manager Marcy Hostetler was at the scene until 8 p.m.

Deputies remained until 9:12 p.m. to direct traffic around the truck until Army crews removed it.

When an Army truck has an accident, emergency responders sometimes are not allowed to have the Army’s vehicle towed, Undersheriff Larry Starkey said. Instead the Army sends its own trucks to remove equipment from the highway.

“It might have been whatever was on that truck that burnt up,” Starkey said. “They didn’t want anybody else to mess with it.”

A March 4, 2018, accident at the Marion roundabout also tied up county emergency responders — and traffic — until soldiers cleared the equipment, Starkey said. In that incident, a trailer being pulled by a tractor came unattached in the roundabout.

The Army sent another truck and trailer, loaded the tipped vehicle onto it, and then towed it away.

In the latest accident, fire appeared to have started in the engine compartment and spread to the cab and the cargo compartment, which had personal effects in it.

Barry Black, Burns fire chief, said the truck was part of a convoy taking soldiers to training.

It didn’t take firefighters long to knock down the fire. He was told the trailer contained personal items.

“They were not very forthcoming about what the contents were, which I understand,” Black said.

The rest of the convoy went on to its destination, Black said.

Last modified June 8, 2022

 

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