Worst Day Ever

Topic 19411 | Page 1

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Susan D. 's Comment
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So I'm on I 70 just a few miles from Indy 465 loop and I notice smoke coming from the rear of my trailer. I turn on my 4 ways, coast to slow down and get off on the shoulder. I'm hearing people on the cab yelling my trailer is on fire.

I grabbed my phone and billfold and bail out the passenger door. My fire extinguisher was in the drivers side sidebox but due to #$@##$ who wouldn't get over, I couldn't get to it, without getting back into the truck and pulling it out from under the bunk.

Sorry but I'm not climbing back into a truck attached to a burning trailer.

Luckily a trooper arrived before i had time to call for help and grabbed his fire extinguisher. Then 4 more showed up. They emptied several fire extinguishers to put out my 5th axle which was shooting out flames.

I was hauling 44,500 pounds of alcohol. A Pennsylvania Party Pack destined for Anheuser Busch in the St. Louis area.

They called the fire department to make sure the axle fire was out completely.

So.. what caused it? The spring that holds up the trailer airlines had snapped? The trailer airlines were on the ground. Funny but I didn't have a substantial air leak and it was not alarming.. the air pressure had just began to drop when I saw the smoke and got stopped. It was only the 5th. axle. not the 4th.

The DOT officer was awesome. He assured me I handled it perfectly. He did a level 2 inspection. Only thing that didn't pass, was obviously the fifth axle. No tickets, no points, but obviously the trailer was placed out of service.

He told me that the trailer had to be completely repaired where it sat, or that axle could be caged and the trailer towed for repairs. However, he made it clear that I was not allowed to pull the trailer, that it would have to be done by a wrecker.

So the wrecker arrives. Here's where it gets even worse. He repairs the airlines and gets the burned up brakes to release and then tries to get me to pull the trailer with my truck. I tell him again that the DOT officer said under no circumstances was I allowed to pull that trailer with my truck until it was fully repaired.

So, what I didn't know is that a wrecker cannot pull a loaded trailer without having it hooked to a truck. So he proceeds to hook the trailer back to my truck and towed the whole kit and caboodle back to our Indy yard. So yeah, he towed a perfectly good truck.

Now for the fun part.. before the tow driver leaves he tells me I can start the truck but don't move it. I was like ???!? And he drove away.

Apparently he damaged rear seal?/axle seal? Crazy geezer made no sense at all. Said he lost oil when he disconnected the drive shaft to tow it? Wow the shop in Cedar Rapids is NOT HAPPY. An expensive screwed up tow. My poor truck.

My throat hurts from the smoke and fire extinguisher spray, but the load wasn't damaged, the trailer won't take too long to repair and neither should my truck. That was an exhausting day but it could have been a whole lot worse. I'm grateful the whole thing didn't go up in flames. My buddy the mechanic here won't be happy to see this mess when he comes in tomorrow morning.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Susan D. 's Comment
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Oh yeah.. and as we were leaving with truck and trailer in tow, just on the other side of the overpass.. the DOT officer was watching to make sure I didn't try to pull that trailer. Glad I stuck to my guns and refused when tow driver tried to convince me that my pulling that trailer was the same as him towing it.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Cwc's Comment
member avatar

Sounds like a loonnggg rough day.. Sleep that one off..

The important part is nobody was hurt and no points on the licence. Chalk it up to $[-]|+ happens.. Not all learning experiences are fun and now you know what it's like to have a trailer fire.

Hopefully tomorrow is much less eventful for you.

Rainy D.'s Comment
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Omg!!! So glad you are safe.

Ernie S. (AKA Old Salty D's Comment
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You are one lucky lady Susan D.

You were right to tell the tow driver you were not going to move that trailer yourself. Good job.

Stay safe, hopefully tomorrow will not be as eventful for you.

Glad everything worked out and no one was hurt.

Ernie

Brett Aquila's Comment
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So.. what caused it? The spring that holds up the trailer airlines had snapped? The trailer airlines were on the ground. Funny but I didn't have a substantial air leak and it was not alarming.. the air pressure had just began to drop when I saw the smoke and got stopped. It was only the 5th. axle. not the 4th.

So I'm a bit confused. What was actually on fire? Did the drop in air pressure cause the brakes to drag, eventually starting them on fire? Or was the line itself just smoking? What was actually burning?

Steve L.'s Comment
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Wow! Glad you're okay and thank you for sharing this. Such a scary experience ought to earn you a paid day off to relax. Yeah, I know; not in trucking.

Big Scott's Comment
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Glad you are ok Susan.

Taxman's Comment
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So, what I didn't know is that a wrecker cannot pull a loaded trailer without having it hooked to a truck. So he proceeds to hook the trailer back to my truck and towed the whole kit and caboodle back to our Indy yard. So yeah, he towed a perfectly good truck.

Don't know why, but this reminds me of something that happened 30 years ago.

Towing service with only one heavy duty wrecker gets called to tow a semi rig. Heavy duty wrecker breaks down after hook-up.

So the dispatcher sends another guy out with a F350 with a wheel lift stinger on the back. F350 driver picks up the heavy duty wrecker with semi tractor and trailer attached. Lansing city cop pulls them over, tickets the F350 driver. They drop the semi and tow the big wrecker home with the F350. I can't remember if they towed the semi with another F350 or handed the job off to another towing company. I'm thinking those clowns towed the semi with an F350.

When they got back to the shop, F350 driver was griping about his overlength ticket. I thought the cop was doing him a favor if that's all he wrote it for.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

murderspolywog's Comment
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Susan I know the feeling well, my student and I picked up a brand new trailer in North Carolina, and then picked up 44k in salad dressing. Headed for Las Angeles California. Well in the night on on I-40 70 miles east of Baker CA, the truck pulls over will I am sleeping, so I wake up and my student goes were on fire. I jump out right behind student each of use has a fire extinguisher, we put both on the fire and got nothing at this point the flames are quickly heading for the truck under the trailer so I run back pulled the lines and the 5th wheel and pulled out from under the trailer. We could not dolly down because we were to close to the gard rail. We watched that trailer burn and start a small grass fire for over an hour before the fire department showed up the trailer was 53 foot, 8 foot wide and about 4 feet tall when it was done the fire was so hot that it milted the assfalt and was particularly sunk. The cause was later thought to be a lack of grease in the hubs on both sides of the front axel on the trailer. Causing the barrings to over heat and catch fire. Nothing you can do about it when it happens.

I am not really shere how taking the drive line off would cause oil to come out of anything the drive line, I know of have a ujoint at the Carrie barring, and a ujoint at the pumpkin you just disconnected the drive line at the pumpkin and tie it off.

You did the right thing thought. no one's dead and everything is can be fixed. In aviation we call that a good day.

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