OURAY – A pickup truck has been declared a “total loss” after bursting into flames on Red Mountain Pass Monday, Sept. 9.
David Stipanovich, of Illinois, was hauling two Jeeps behind his diesel 2008 Dodge pickup as he negotiated the steep “S” curves below Ironton Park near Mile Marker 88, when his truck caught on fire, said Ouray County Sheriff Junior Mattivi.
As luck would have it, members of the Ouray Volunteer Fire Department had convened that evening in Ouray for a firemen’s pension meeting when the call came in, and they quickly responded to the scene.
Several passersby stopped to help Stipanovich, fully unloading one of his Jeeps and partially unloading another before firefighters arrived on the scene.
“By the time they got up there, the truck was fully engulfed,” Mattivi said.
Stipanovich had stopped in the middle of the highway, and when the vehicle caught on fire, his brake lines caught on fire, too, Ouray Fire Chief Trevor Latta said. “The truck started rolling down hill, as they were trying to back the Jeeps off the trailer. They got one off and were starting to back the second off when the truck started rolling. Someone was able to reach in and hit the emergency brake and blocked the tires with rocks to keep it from rolling.”
The fire was quickly extinguished and firefighters cleared the scene by about 8 p.m.
“Vehicle fires are tricky,” Latta said. “There are a lot of plastics and rubbers, so you don’t want to breathe any of it.”
There were no injuries, but the truck was ruined, Latta said. Both Jeeps remained intact. The cause of the fire is still unknown.
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