Fireball engulfs semi truck near Prosser

A truck driver went to extraordinary lengths to save his load when his truck caught fire early Friday.

He was asleep in the truck’s cab parked at a Benton County-owned viewpoint off Highway 221 near Prosser.

He and another truck driver were carrying loads bound for British Columbia, Canada, when they pulled off to sleep in their trucks, said fire Chief Seth Johnson.

About 2 a.m., a sound woke up the first driver, who went outside to find his truck cab burning.

He ran to his partner’s truck and roused him. Together they unhooked the cab and trailer and used the second truck to tow it away from the burning vehicle. The trailer was pulling a flatbed, but Johnson wasn’t sure what it was hauling.

At the same time, a passing driver called 911 to report the fire.

By the time Benton County Fire District 5 and West Benton Fire and Rescue arrived, they found the cab engulfed with flames. Firefighters spent the next hour and a half dousing it.

Johnson caught some of the dramatic fire on video.

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West Benton Fire and Rescue responded to a semi truck fire near Prosser early Friday. West Benton Fire and Rescue

The blaze burned hot enough to melt the top of the fuel tank and the fuel lines, dumping more than 100 gallons of diesel in the area.

The trucking company is working with Benton County to organize the clean-up effort.

The first driver suffered some minor smoke inhalation.

Benton County sheriff’s deputies also helped at the scene.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Cameron Probert: 509-582-1402, @cameroncprobert