HARTFORD - A pickup truck owned by a Hanover-based contractor that was towing a trailer filled with lumber to a home remodeling site burst into flames as it was making its way up a winding road off Route 5 South near the Hartford landfill late Wednesday morning.
The driver of the truck was able to stop and step safely out before the fire fully engulfed the black 2011 GMC Sierra and the flames began to spread upwards though a tall stand of hemlock trees, charring a series of communications cables and power lines which ran diagonally across that section of the dirt road between two wooden phone poles.
"At least it was the crummy truck that burned up," said Jolin Kish of Kish Consulting and Contracting, noting that the vehicle had about 200,000 miles on it.
Kish said her company has a half-dozen trucks and the newest member of the fleet just recently shattered a driveshaft after only 7,000 mile, so age is no guarantee of reliability.
"Oh man, I just put new tires on this one to get it ready to be inspected," Kish said as she walked up to the still smoldering vehicle. "You can't even tell that it was black," she noted.
Retired Hartford firefighter Bob Robishaw, who serves as a call fireman and one of the department's fire investigators, said it appeared from the swirled burn pattern on the driver's side door that the fire began somewhere on the undercarriage of the pickup directly underneath the driver's area near where several bundles of electrical wiring run through from the front to the back of the vehicle.
Hartford Fire Lieutenant Norman Mariotti hoses down the remnants of a tire
Firefighter Luke Harvey uses a thermal imaging camera to check for hotspots under the truck
Officials were concerned that the power lines might snap after having been exposed to the intense heat which had visibly melted some of the insulation off the lower cables over the roadway
Green Mountain Power sent a crew to take a close look at the overhead wires
A lineman checked out the power lines (note the burnt trees on the right) and determined they hadn't been compromised
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