Truck fire stops traffic for 2 hours

SAWYER A collision between a three-axle tanker truck carrying up to 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel was struck by a two-axle boom truck just after 12:45 p.m. on N.D. Highway 23 south of Sawyer and Velva Thursday. The diesel fire burned for about two hours and law enforcement officers held traffic during that time until the fire was put out.

David Paxton, 36, Minot, was entering the highway with his fuel truck from the access road to CleanHarbors, the waste-disposal company he drives for, when his vehicle was struck in the cab by the boom truck driven by Christopher Heinen, 21, Melrose, Minn., according the investigating trooper from the North Dakota Highway Patrol.

The collision knocked both vehicles into the eastbound ditch. The boom truck stayed primarily on the shoulder, but the tanker truck had flipped into the bottom of the ditch. Both vehicles were on their sides.

By 3:30 p.m. the trucks, their metal twisted and black from the fire and the soot, continued to smoke gently on the scorched earth about 20 yards in length in the ditch.

Both drivers were taken by ambulance to Trinity Hospital in Minot after suffering minor injuries. Paxton was issued a citation for failure to yield.