FARMINGTON — A Public Works employee escaped a plow truck fire Saturday morning unharmed. The truck wasn’t so lucky.
After plowing roads most of Friday night, James Kiernan was driving east in a 2004 Sterling plow truck with a sander at about 11 a.m. Saturday on the Lucy Knowles Road.
As he drove along, he heard a hiss and a loud pop, and the truck was on fire, he said. He jumped out and tried to squelch the fire with the truck’s fire extinguisher as other drivers stopped and called for help.
When Farmington Fire and Rescue arrived, the truck was engulfed in flames, Deputy Chief Clyde Ross said. Firefighters doused the fire with foam.
Kiernan was just finishing his shift, plowing and clearing slush from the road, said Denis Castonguay, Public Works Department director at the scene. Most of the department’s personnel and equipment were out for much of the night cleaning up the Friday storm, which left the area with about 8 inches of heavy, wet snow, he said.
To replace the vehicle with a similar 2004 model would cost about $90,000, Castonguay estimated. A newer-model truck would probably cost twice that, he said. The cause of the fire was unknown. The plow and sander unit were not damaged much, but the cab and engine were destroyed.
The road was closed to traffic for nearly an hour.