“It was just blazing,” said Mary Thompkins of 1226 Old Coal City Road, Pell City. “The truck was just blazing.”
Flames shot up 10 feet in the air and the cloud of white smoke was so thick Thompkins couldn’t see inside the cab of the truck.
“It scared me to death,” Thompkins said. “I was worried about the driver of the truck. With so much smoke and fire, I couldn’t see anybody.”
Thompkins called 911 and emergency workers responded to her call.
Both Wattsville Volunteer Fire and Riverside Volunteer Fire departments responded to the fire, which was just north of the Pleasant Valley Quick Stop.
Veolia Environmental Services driver Jerry Higginbotham escaped unharmed from the garbage truck.
Fortunately, Higginbotham frequently looks in the rearview mirror of the truck.
“I saw smoke,” Higginbotham said. “I turned around, and it was flaming.”
The engine that caught fire was behind the truck’s cab.
“I jumped out of my truck,” Higginbotham said. “I thought it was going to blow.”
Authorities said the emergency call was received at about 11:14 a.m. Wednesday.
Old Coal City Road was temporarily closed as firefighters fought the blaze and wreckers worked to remove the large green garbage truck.
Old Coal City Road was closed for more than one hour, but nobody was hurt in the fire.
Higginbotham said he thought the engine fire was electrical.
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