TCA Highway Angel Helps Motorist Extinguish Flames Beneath His Van

October 8, 2013

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Robert Barrett
Robert Barrett

The Truckload Carriers Association has nameed Robert Barrett of Paris, Tenn., as a Highway Angel. Barrett drives for Milan Express and is being recognized for acting quickly to put out a fire for a fellow motorist.

It was Aug. 9, and Barrett was heading home from a truck stop off I-71 in Washington Court House, Ohio. It was early morning, perhaps 4 or 5 a.m. A man with his wife and dog had been traveling in a van pulling a trailer when the van caught on fire. Fluid was leaking underneath it. The man had run to the truck stop to get a bucket of water. However, he did not realize that the leaking fluid was actually transmission fluid, which does not mix well with water. By pouring the water on the flames, he caused the fire to increase.

Barrett saw what happened and decided to help the man, who was clearly distraught. Grabbing the fire extinguisher from his truck, he was able to put out the flames before they engulfed the vehicle. The motorist was so grateful for Barrett’s help that he later called Milan Express to praise the driver and thank him.

“The guy just didn’t know what he was doing. You can’t put water on anything greasy,” said Barrett when asked about the incident. “His wife was standing on the other side of the van. When he poured that bucket underneath, the flames spread out so fast they almost got onto his wife. I said to myself, ‘I’ve really got to help this guy.’”

For his assistance that morning, Barrett, who has been driving for 23 years, has been presented with a Highway Angel lapel pin, certificate, and patch. Milan Express also received a certificate acknowledging that one of its drivers is a Highway Angel.

TCA’s Highway Angel program is sponsored by Internet Truckstop. Since the program’s inception in August 1997, hundreds of drivers have been recognized as Highway Angels for the unusual kindness, courtesy, and courage they have shown others while on the job.

To nominate a driver or learn more about the program and its honorees, visit the Highway Angel Web site at

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