Overheating Truck Transmissions Cause Two Vehicle Fires

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Making it up the steep mountain grades in Rim Country is hard on any vehicle.

For two trucks on Highway 260 Saturday, it proved too much for their transmissions.

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Ron Bockelman passed this fiery scene on Highway 260 July 11 and took the photo. The truck was pulling a travel trailer up an area of road that is steep when the transmission caught fire and quickly spread.

Both trucks were heading east on Highway 260, when fires starting in the transmissions, spread quickly to the rest of the trucks, destroying both, said Christopher-Kohl's Fire Department Lt. Sam Seay.

The first truck, a Chevy Suburban, pulling a trailer, was heading up the road around 10:30 a.m., when the fire started up in the engine.

The driver turned the truck around near milepost 281 and stopped in the westbound shoulder because there is not a shoulder on the east side of the road to stop in.

By the time fire crews arrived, "both the truck and the trailer were fully involved," said Chief Electra VanEckhoutte.

Four trucks and seven firefighters were called out to extinguish that blaze.

The second truck, a Ford F-150, also on Highway 260, caught fire at 4:30 p.m. near Colcord Road. That blaze also started in the transmission, said Seay.

Three trucks and six firefighters responded.

Both drivers pulled over near the guardrail after they said they smelled burning and the cabs filled up with smoke, he said.

In sections of State Route 260, the steep grades cause many cars to overheat, said Seay. Usually radiator hoses blow and not the transmissions.

No one was injured in either fire.

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