fire

Anderson Township volunteer firefighters Tom Hadley (left) and Rob Puckett are pictured putting a foam nozzle on a hose as they prepare to fight a fully engulfed trailer fire (background) that closed SR 3 for nearly 90 minutes Monday morning. The driver and his van (background, far right) were northbound when the trailer dislodged from the vehicle and crashed.

A trailer came unhitched from a vehicle and burst into flames shortly before 11 a.m. Monday south of Milroy.

No injuries were associated with the accident, but the ensuing fire and downed lines from a Duke Energy pole resulted in a two-mile section of SR 3 being closed to traffic for nearly 90 minutes.

Timothy Thornburgh, 51, of Eaton, was northbound in the 9200 block of South SR 3 in a 1988 Ford Econoline van when the trailer he was pulling came loose from his hitch.

The trailer left the east side of the highway, entered a side ditch and struck a Duke Energy pole before bursting into flames.

The Eaton man said he didn't know how the trailer separated from his van.

"I don't know what happened, it simply came unhooked and veered off and hit those trees and pole," Thornburgh said. "After I turned around and I looked inside the trailer I saw that it was on fire."

Thornburgh makes wooded signs and the 12-foot dual axle van was laden with wood, paint and other wood working supplies.

As firefighters arrived a number of small explosions greeted them as the flammable contents of the trailer ignited.

"I guess it's fortunate that no one was injured," Thornburgh said as he watched his trailer burn.

According to ISP trooper Mike Ooley, Thornburgh was northbound at the time of the accident.

Firefighters from Anderson Township Volunteer Fire Department worked to extinguish the trailer and a couple of nearby brush fires.

"It is fortunate that we had the recent rains in the area or we could have had a real mess on our hands down here if the nearby wooded area would have ignited," volunteer firefighter Rob Puckett said.

As a result of the fire and the downed lines, SR 3 remained closed for 90 minutes until being reopened shortly before 12:30 p.m.

Traffic was rerouted around the scene to nearby county roads.

Assisting at the scene were units from the ATVFD, ISP, Rush County Sheriff's Department, Duke Energy and Davis Towing.

Contact:  Frank Denzler at (765) 932-2222 x106

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