Runaway diesel engine ties up traffic on River Road

Emergency personnel respond to a runaway diesel engine on River Road, St. George, Utah, Jan. 30, 2015 | Photo courtesy of Dylan Westover, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – An incident that was initially reported as a vehicle fire temporarily snarled traffic on River Road in St. George Friday afternoon.

The St. George Communications Center received a call at 1:25 p.m. from a truck driver saying his semitruck was on fire on south River Road. Responders from the St. George Police and St. George Fire departments attended to the scene.

Emergency personnel respond to a runaway diesel engine on River Road, St. George, Utah, Jan. 30, 2015 | Photo courtesy of Dylan Westover, St. George News
Emergency personnel respond to a runaway diesel engine on River Road, St. George, Utah, Jan. 30, 2015 | Photo courtesy of Dylan Westover, St. George News

Though smoke billowed from the front of the semitruck, which was pulling a flatbed semitrailer at the time of the incident, it turned out the vehicle wasn’t actually on fire but had a “runaway,” or over-revving, engine, St. George Fire Chief Robert Stoker said. This caused the engine to overheat and the oil to burn.

When responders arrived at the scene, the driver of the semitruck already had his diesel engine shut down, but the engine was still very hot, Stoker said. The Fire Department used a booster line – a hard-line fire hose – to spray the semi’s engine and cool it down.

Southbound traffic on River Road was reduced to one lane for about 15 minutes while responders attended to the incident. Fortunately, the semitruck was not carrying any hazardous cargo, Stoker said.

This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

St. George News Assistant Editor Cami Cox Jim contributed to this report.

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Email: cbennett@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

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