Box truck catches fire on Rt. 2

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Steve Manheim /CHRONICLE
Amherst firefighters douse at a truck fire Monday on Rt. 2. eastbound between Oak Point and Baumhart roads.

JASON HAWK
EDITOR

A utility truck burned to a crisp Monday afternoon in a freak accident on Rt. 2 in Amherst.

Two Kent residents were heading home from an estate-type sale in Vermilion around 12:40 p.m. when they — and passing traffic along the busy highway — noticed something was horribly wrong with their 1999 GMC box truck, said fire chief Jim Wilhelm.

“What they told me is they were driving down the road and smelled wood burning. People were blowing their horns,” he said. “The guy looked in the mirror and saw smoke, so he pulled over. And when he stopped, the whole thing just lit up.”

When firefighters arrived, the truck was completely engulfed in flames and “all we could do was surround it and put water on it,” Wilhelm said.

Neither occupant was injured.

The truck was old and investigators found oil and other flammable material on the muffler, according to the fire chief.

He said the fire that started under the truck spread to its wood floor.

His Amherst fire crew closed the highway for about 30 minutes to control the flames.