Bio: Abel, Dan - Semi-Truck Fire (1982)

Contact: Kathleen E. Englebretson

Surnames: Abel

---Source: Marshfield News-Herald (23 January 1982)

CARDWELL, MONTANA - A Wisconsin man escaped injury Friday when the lumber-loaded semitrailer truck he was pulling burst into flames along side Interstate 90 about four miles east of the Cardwell exit.

The Highway Patrol closed the east bound lane of the state's main east-west highway for 3 1/2 hours after the 10:45 a.m. incident. Traffic was detoured onto the old state highway to Three Forks.

Whitehall volunteer firemen doused the blaze and the state Highway Department pushed burning debris off the road with a snowplow.

Dan Abel, 38, of Dorchester, Wisconsin, was driving in the eastbound lane when he said he noticed smoke curling up the sides of the trailer.

He pulled over and disconnected the trailer from the tractor unit. Abel said passing motorists did not stop to offer help and nobody called authorities until westbound officers from Bozeman, who were transporting a prisoner, radioed the Highway Patrol.

About the same time, the owners of Fell's Store in Cardwell noticed the black smoke in the sky and notified the police dispatcher in Whitehall. Three fire trucks were dispatched from Whitehall but temperatures of 15 below to 18 below zero froze the pumps on two of them during the drive to the scene.

Patrol Spokesmen said the highway would have been closed much longer without the efforts of the Whitehall firemen and the state-owned snowplow.

The truck is owned by Anderson Trucking Service of St. Cloud, Minnesota. The lumber was en route to Pulaski, Virginia, from Yakima, Washington. The trailer and contents were destroyed.

Cause of the fire was unknown, the patrol said.



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