Safety & Compliance

Truck Ignites: Lightning Suspected

March 13, 2000

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Lightning may have sparked a fire that consumed the cab of a Horseless Carriage tractor-trailer along Interstate 20 near Arlington, TX on Friday.

According to a report in the Arlington Morning News no one was hurt in the blaze, but the 1998 Kenworth tractor owned by Tim Iarussi was destroyed and several high-priced vehicles in the trailer were damaged.
Iarussi told fire investigators that he believed the cab might have been struck by a lightning bolt during a brief downpour and thunderstorm.
The trailer was owned by Horseless Carriage Carriers, a fully insured New Jersey-based fleet that specializes in the transport of high-value vehicles. Manager Bob Zak said the vehicles inside the trailer were valued at about $750,000.
Two of the vehicles - including a 2000 Ferrarri 456 that had never been driven - were damaged. Four other vehicles received smoke damage.
Iarussi first noticed flames shortly after 11 a.m. as the tractor-trailer headed west on Interstate 20 near the Bowman Springs exit. He managed to pull the tractor-trailer off to the side of the road, where flames were so high they licked the bottom of an overpass sign, officials said.
Firefighters arrived on scene within minutes. As they maneuvered around the truck to douse the blaze, the highway was closed and traffic was rerouted.
Initially, the hazardous materials unit was called to the fire because firefighters were unsure if the cargo was flammable. Once they saw the cars inside the trailer, they began putting their fuel into barrels in hopes of averting any explosions.

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