Fire truck catches on fire and starts fire - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Fire truck catches on fire and starts fire

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RICHLAND, WA - There were absolutely no signs or indications of mechanical issues when one of the Richland Fire Department's trucks caught on fire Monday. The fire was so hot it melted the aluminum on the truck.

Reporter Jaclyn Selesky saw the damage to the truck today, which unfortunately is a total loss. It was a brand new fire truck that wasn't even in service yet. In fact, the fire department worked hard to make sure it would be ready for this holiday weekend.

Chief Tom Huntington with RFD says one of his colleagues went to Hermiston - ironically for a service check - and on his way back, something went wrong.

"The driver described what sounded like a grenade going off," Chief Huntington said. "Immediately lost power and actually had to use the parking brake, the emergency brake to be able to pull over and get the vehicle to stop. By that time, the fire was already burning under the hood of the engine and there was already fire on the highway behind him."

That brush fire stopped traffic in both directions on I-82 yesterday, but there's a bigger issue here. The loss of this wildland unit is going to impact not just our local fire departments but our entire region. That's because it's just one of two wildland units. The only other one also serves as a structure fire unit. So Chief Huntington says the RFD is going to have to depend on neighboring agencies to step in to help. Fortunately, our region works well as a team.

As for the truck, it is covered under their insurance, but it won't be replaced for this wildfire season.

And as for the driver, he has no injuries and is just a little shaken up.