TONASKET – A Western Glove utility trailer caught fire as the driver was heading north on Highway 97 around 10:06 a.m. today, July 26.
The driver, who wished to remain annonymous, said he pulled off the main highway when he noticed the fire. The fire was quickly put out by state Department of Natural Resources fire crew members who happened to be driving by as the trailer was parked on the intersection of Whitcomb Avenue, Division Street and Hwy. 97.
“It's not exactly my happiest moment right now, but I'm glad everyone is okay,” said the driver, who was relieved the fire was extinguished before it reached a propane tank at the front of the trailer.
Tonasket City Superintendent Darren Johnson, on scene with Assistant Superintendent Tim Freeman, said the fire was caused when the bracket holding the fuel tank broke off.
“He pulled it off the highway and pulled over, which is a good thing because he wasn't blocking traffic,” said Tonasket Mayor Dennis Brown, who walked over to the scene after hearing it on the scanner.
“I was watching a movie and got a call from someone saying my house was on fire,” said William Gomez, who lives next to where the trailer was parked. “I'm glad it wasn't my house.”
Johnson, helping to clean up debris on the street, said the trailer could be parked in the city lot's bullpen until Western Glove could bring over a low boy to haul it out.
DNR crews left the scene when volunteer firefighters from Tonasket's Okanogan County Fire District 4 arrived. Responding for were Luke Kresek, Tiffany Ferdone, Reuben Laurie, Keith Montagne and Adam Meli.