YARMOUTH, Maine — The cab of a diesel tanker was destroyed by fire Wednesday morning at the Interstate 295 commuter parking lot.
Little was left of the front end of the Dennis K. Burke fuel distribution 18-wheeler, which was carrying 8,000 gallons of diesel fuel, after the fire at Exit 15. The driver of the vehicle escaped unharmed.
The driver, who declined to identify himself or discuss the incident, was traveling north on I-295 in Falmouth when he smelled something burning, according to Yarmouth Fire Department Chief Michael Robitaille.
By the time the driver pulled into the Yarmouth parking lot, the vehicle was on fire. It burst into flames when he left the cab.
“The only reason it didn’t ignite more is because he was driving down the road,” Robitaille said. “The wind actually kept that fire [down], so when he did stop, it just let go.”
Fire crews from Yarmouth, Falmouth, and Freeport were on the scene within four minutes of the 11:47 a.m. call, Robitaille said, and their priority was keeping the tank cool so it didn’t explode.
“It takes a lot to get diesel fuel to heat up, ignite, and then explode,” he said. “Had this been gasoline, it would have been a much more volatile situation.”
Robitaille said it appeared the fire started on the left side of the engine compartment, but because of the extensive damage, it’s difficult to tell the cause.
Officials from the Department of Environmental Protection were on the scene and preliminary reports said were there were no environmental hazards.
Robitaille said the truck was coming from a Dennis K. Burke location in Saco, although the company is based in Massachusetts. It was unknown where the driver was headed.