A truck driver and former member of the U.S. Navy was honored with the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) for stepping up when a truck caught fire at a Love’s location.
Trucker Paul Annen was named a TCA “Highway Angel” on June 30, 2021, for his willingness to assist in a dangerous situation at a Love’s Travel Stop located off I-40 near Palestine, Arkansas.
Annen and a student driver stopped to refuel and saw a semi truck burning at the truck stop.
“I drove over toward the truck and stopped a safe distance away. There were several people standing around, watching it burn,” Annen said. Annen had previously served as a firefighter during his time with the Navy.
Annen grabbed a fire extinguisher and emptied it as he aimed the fire extinguisher at the flames coming from under the truck.
“After I emptied it, I backed away and someone handed me another extinguisher, telling me I looked like I knew what I was doing,” Annen said.
Annen emptied a total of three fire extinguishers before the truck’s airbag exploded and the fire got even worse, forcing Annen and others to back away and wait for help.
“We didn’t know what he was hauling or whether it would explode, but I believe our efforts prevented the fire from becoming significantly worse,” Annen said.
Annen said that the truck’s door was open and the driver appeared to be missing from the scene.
When firefighters arrived on scene, Annen returned to his truck and talked about fire safety with his student driver.
Annen is a Tampa, Florida, resident, who has driven for Melton Truck Lines for nearly 5 years.
Nearly 1300 truck drivers have been recognized as “Highway Heroes” since the program debuted in 1997.