Even though the vehicle had been pulled off the ramp of exit 233, in Monticello, drivers on I-10 could see the plume of smoke from two miles away on Tuesday September 8, when a semi-trailer burned to its chassis. According to the driver, the trailer began malfunctioning, the truck got overheated, and the driver had the sense and timing to pull off at the exit and escape the vehicle unharmed. The trailer caught quickly. In the time it took Jefferson County Fire Rescue (JCFR) units to arrive on scene, the cab had gone up in smoke and the trailer had began to burn. The front half of the box was filled with flats of household items for retail sale— candles, dog treats and medical supplies. The back half held pallets full of batteries. JCFR personnel were able to knock down the fire just before it reached the flats of batteries. Poor water supply options plagued operations on scene.
Two hydrants existed about three miles from the scene, but water pressure was not enough to fill the tender trucks fast enough. Engineers had to range five miles from the scene in order to find hydrants with enough water pressure to fill their trucks quickly. This was paramount. Though JCFR Captain Ron Motter favored techniques that use less water, this incident nonetheless required over 18,000 gallons to bring to heel. Florida Highway Patrol had to shut down the entire exit in order to ensure the safety of firefighting personnel. Jefferson County Fire Rescue, Monticello Volunteer Fire Department (MVFD) and Ashville Area Volunteer Fire Department all responded to the scene. JCFR also called for mutual aid from Madison Fire Rescue, which provided a tender truck and assisted Jefferson county in extingushing the fire. FHP used two personnel to shut down the exit, and Transfield Services provided a tractor and an operator. In all, fifteen personnel took active roles on the fire grounds. No injuries were reported as a result of this fire.
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1. Greene Publishing, Inc. Photo By Amber Houston, August 8, 2015 Responders arrived to find the vehicle fully engulfed. Luckily, the driver exited the semi-trailer with no injuries before the cab went up in smoke.