RV fire shuts down I-44

RV Fire

LDR photo/Kelly Morgan

Firefighters stand near a damaged trailer following a fire that closed Interstate 44 for about 20 minutes near the Conway exit.

By: 
KELLY MORGAN ◆ KELLY@LEBANONDAILYRECORD.COM

Interstate 44 was closed for about 20 minutes Wednesday when an RV caught fire near Conway.

According to a Facebook post by the Conway Volunteer Fire Department, the incident took place at about 2:40 p.m. when a tire blew out on the trailer.

Conway Fire Chief Fred Savage said that the owner of the trailer realized something was wrong when another motorist pulled alongside him and gestured that there was a problem. At that point, the owner also noticed that the brakes on the trailer were not working properly. By the time the man pulled over, the dual tires on the passenger side of the trailer were already in flames.

When firefighters arrived, about half of the RV was on fire, Savage said. According to Savage, the biggest problem with the incident was its location. Both of Interstate 44’s westbound lanes were closed for about 20 minutes, causing traffic to back up for about 10 miles.

Heat also posed a challenge for firefighters. Savage said that the temperature on the pavement was about 110 degrees, and radiant heat from the fire caused the air near the trailer to reach 150 degrees. Inside the trailer, Savage thinks it was probably 300 degrees or hotter.

“When it’s 150 degree air temperature, and then you’ve got guys in 80 pounds of heavy protective gear and a mask, literally in 20 minutes of strenuous work, we’ve got guys that (are) getting critical body core temperatures,” Savage stated.

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The Lebanon Daily Record

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