UPDATE: Movers cleaning up damaged items hours after moving truck catches fire on I-20

By: Hope Jensen Email
By: Hope Jensen Email

News 12 This Morning/ Monday, December 3rd, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Baseball cards, furniture, Beanie Babies and more sat in piles on the side of I-20 Monday morning after a moving truck caught on fire. Now, instead of the home he packed up, the driver will be delivering the remains of a fire to the family's new house.

"I've never seen anything like this," said Ronny Telle as he looked at the fire damage spilling out of the back of his moving truck.

He's been a driver for 29 years, moving families and their belongings all over the country.

"We take classes and stuff," he said. "They'll show you films of stuff like this and you sit there and look at those films and you're like, 'Ah, that'll never happen,' and sure enough, here it is."

A little after midnight he saw sparks in his rear view mirror and when he pulled over, the tires were on fire.

"You're just sitting there and you're watching these flames go up and there's nothing you can do," he said. "It's just a helpless feeling. It really is."

The fire started at the bottom of the truck forcing the firefighters to pull everything out to reach the source.

"Thirty-seven years I've been in the fire service," said Augusta Fire Battalion Chief Steven Bell. "This is about the second time I've had one of these and I'll say this has probably been the worst of the two."

After the fire was gone, over half of the truck was left damaged.

"You don't know the value," Bell said. "You don't know what these people have gone through to collect this stuff."

The truck was traveling from Houston, Texas, to Myrtle Beach, S.C., to meet the family.

"It's basically a house on wheels," Bell said.

A house that Telle was planning to deliver today. It's something he's done hundreds of times before.

"I don't know how many moves I've done in 29 years, but you always make it from point A to point B," Telle said. "You always do, I always have, except for now."

No one was injured in the fire. It started in the back wheel well, but the exact cause is still unknown. The Fire Department brought in additional engines for manpower and water supply since there is no supply on the interstate. It took almost nine hours to clean up all the damage.

Initial report:

Monday, Dec. 3, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Fire crews are no longer on the scene after an 18-wheeler caught fire just after midnight Monday.

It happened on I-20 eastbound near the Martinez-Daniel Field exit.

Firefighters called it a "house fire on wheels" because an entire moving truck filled with household items went up in flames. Fire crews told News 12 that half of the household items in the truck's trailer were damaged from the flames.

The fire started inside of the back wheel on the passenger side of the truck. The driver tried to put it out and called the fire department when his effort was unsuccessful.

Without any water sources on the interstate, crews had to relay water in to help put out the flames that were still burning at 2 a.m. Monday.

The driver of the truck was heading from Houston, Texas, to Myrtle Beach, S.C.

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