Truck has fiery end

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By Aaron Diment

At the end of a long, frigid week in Oklahoma, one El Reno man found more warmth than he was looking for. 

While driving north from Mustang on Cemetery Road, Nic Parker said he heard an ominous knocking noise coming from his truck engine.  Parker quickly called Lance Hopkins, district manager for Southern Comfort Portable Toilets, who prompted the driver to pull over as soon as possible to assess the vehicle’s condition. As Parker pulled off Cemetery Road and onto S.W. 10th Street – at the entrance of the Belmont Crossing housing addition – he saw smoke and flames erupting from under the hood of the vehicle. Grabbing his personal effects, Parker escaped the burning vehicle and dialed 911. 

As scorching-hot flames began engulfing the vehicle, Oklahoma Fire and Rescue crews rushed to the scene, including Maj. Tim Townsend. No one was injured in the fire, which was hot enough to melt the truck’s radiator, the major said.

“They were coming up from Louisiana and they threw a rod in the engine,” Townsend said. “They pulled off the road and that’s what caught the truck on fire, it blew that motor. 

“It (the fire) didn’t get back into any of the other tanks or anything, just strictly in the front compartment in the cab,” he said.

(Photo/Aaron Diment)

(Photo/Aaron Diment)

The vehicle, a white Dodge Ram Heavy Duty flatbed, carried several large containers of a blue liquid, which Townsend identified as dyed water for a septic system. It was part of a fleet owned and operated by Southern Comfort Portable Toilets, which has locations in Louisiana and El Reno. 

Hopkins said the truck was about to be decommissioned and some of its components would be re-purposed within the company.

“We were retiring this truck, actually taking it to the shop and swapping the tanks out,” Hopkins said. “It’s seen its day.”