Fire wrecks county road truck while plowing snow Wednesday morning
By: Darrell Todd Maurina
Posted: Thursday, January 29, 2009 7:40 am
County officials say this 2004 Ford flatbed truck which burned Wednesday morning while plowing snow on county roads north of Waynesville is a total loss.
WAYNESVILLE, Mo. (Jan. 29, 2009) — Pulaski County’s eastern district road crews are already struggling to keep roads clear of snow, and a vehicle fire while plowing snow didn’t make things any easier.
According to Eastern District Commissioner Bill Farnham, a 2004 Ford one-ton flatbed truck caught fire on Highway T Wednesday morning about a mile north of the Waynesville city limits.
“It was fully loaded and (the driver) had been out plowing the county roads,” Farnham said. “We can salvage the plow and we can salvage the pea gravel spreader but the truck is a total loss.”
Those items will be placed on another county truck so road crews can continue their work, Farnham said.
“The only good thing about it is we have another one-ton truck with a plow and spreader on order that we haven’t received yet,” Farnham said.
Those items had been on order and had been promised prior to the snow season, but Farnham said they still haven’t arrived.
It’s not clear what caused the truck fire, Farnham said, but winter weather conditions and heavy loads may have been a factor.
The county’s eastern district has suffered other weather-related equipment failures as well, Farnham said.
“We had a bad valve for a fuel tank; it froze up and wouldn’t work, and of course, we have to have gasoline for our spreaders,” Farnham said.
Eastern District road supervisor Stan Crismon said the truck breakdown came at a particularly bad time.
“I had two trucks break down, had one fixed last night (Tuesday), and was in the process of getting the other one fixed when I got the call about this truck being on fire,” Crismon said.
Farnham said keeping the eastern district’s roads clear has become an increasingly difficult challenge, even without equipment failures. The district has close to 400 miles of roads, a third of which are asphalt.
“We’re accustomed to this kind of weather, but on the eastern side, we could use more manpower and more equipment,” Farnham said.
Farnham personally accompanies drivers in bad weather conditions to provide assistance, and was on the scene of two recent fires on Laramie Road Monday night and Stockton Road on Wednesday morning when road crews responded so fire trucks could get to the blaze.
“If we had the extra equipment, I’d be out driving right there with my crews,” Farnham said.
Crismon and Farnham said a training program is in place for winter driving to teach operators how to plow snow and what areas need extra attention.
“Most of the time, before they’re ever in a truck by themselves, they are riding with a experienced operator. Not all roads need pea gravel,” Farnham said.
“They’re all good workers,” Crismon said. “Without them, we couldn’t get it done.”