By Malcolm Butler
Members of the City of Ruston Fire Department and the Ruston Police Department were on the scene Monday afternoon as the cab of an 18-wheeler burst into flames on the corner of North Trenton Street and the north Service Road East.
Approximately 2:15 p.m. an 18-wheeler carrying DEF (diesel exhaust fluid) burst into flames, causing traffic jams along the south-bound bridge over I-20.
“A lot of the details are a little sketchy,” said Brad Hearne, Chief of Fire Prevention for the City of Ruston. “The drivers wasn’t extremely cooperative with our questions. Something caught fire in the cab and extended to the trailer a little bit. It didn’t get into the contents of the trailer, and there wasn’t anything combustible in the trailer.”
“Something ignited in the cab,” said Fire Chief Chris Womack. “I don’t want to use the word explosive, but it wasn’t just a light fire. There was glass and debris blown out of the vehicle.”
Hearne said there was not any type of (hazardous material) concerns with the fire or the contents of the 18-wheeler.
“It was all contained pretty quickly,” said Hearne. “It was just pretty hot. Once we were able to get through the traffic and get water to it, we were able to get it knocked down pretty quick.”
The unidentified driver did sustain some injuries and was transported to Northern Louisiana Medical Center to be treated. He had already been released by 4:30 p.m.
“He did sustain some (second degree) burns,” said Hearne. “Nothing life threatening. He was the only one injured. He has left our hospital already from what we understand.”
The exact owner of the 18-wheeler wasn’t known but the words Super Ego ran along the side of the vehicle.
“I do know it was a leased vehicle,” said Hearne. “I believe he had stopped and been in the convenience store and was getting back on the road.”