A trucker was able to wake up a parking lot full of sleeping drivers and avoided what could have been a fiery catastrophe.
Truck driver Daniel Bittle says that he first noticed a truck fire at around 3:20 a.m. at the rest stop off of Interstate 77 north of Statesville, North Carolina. As soon as he realized what was happening, he jumped into action to wake everyone he could, and caught a lot of the situation on video.
“I looked in my mirrors, and I saw an inferno behind me,” Bittle said to Fox 46.
“I knew if somebody was inside that sleeper, there’s nothing I could do for them, I couldn’t have gotten to that truck, it kind of stopped my heart when I thought about that,” he continued.
After banging on several truck cabs and trailers, Bittle comes upon the driver of the burning truck just standing there, holding nothing but a fire extinguisher.
“Is that your truck? What happened? (inaudible) You woke up and it was on fire?” Bittle asks the man, who mumbles in agreement. The man wasn’t able to grab any of his belongings before he escaped the burning rig, so Bittle calls 911 for him.
“I’m glad you’re safe, your phone’s in there? Let me call 9-1-1,” he said to the frozen driver.
Fire officials eventually responded, but say that the truck was so badly burned by the time they arrived, that there was really nothing left to investigate. As of now, officials do not believe the fire to be suspicious.
Bittle says he was able to rescue five other truckers who were parked near the fire, and says the situation could have been way worse.
“You get a deep sleeper that doesn’t want to wake up, it could be a catastrophe,” he said.