NEBRASKA CITY – Faced with overheating propane bottles and a burning camper trailer, Dunbar firefighters improvised Monday night to save the truck pulling the camper.
55-year-old Nick Gubelli was traveling from Arizona to help build wind turbines in Centerville, Iowa, but a tire blew on the trailer about 170 miles away from his destination.
Gubelli: “I saw it go and I pulled over and it caught fire, so I jumped out of the truck once I got to the side of the road, pulled out my fire extinguisher and tried to put it out. Had the fire out, I thought, and then it was so hot under there it just sparked again and took it. Then my fire extinguisher ran out.”
Gubelli said he was grateful for Good Samaritans who stopped and tried to help him separate the truck from the burning camper. Bruce Merz of Falls City was among those who stopped to help.
Merz: “Just seen someone on the side of the road with tires, or with smoke coming out of it. It was burning, so I tried to help him get his truck unhooked. His jack wouldn’t raise and lower the trailer and he had a propane tank there, so we got it out. Finally the fire department showed up and they got it unhooked then and saved his truck.”
In addition to trying to suppress the fire, Dunbar firefighters used spray hoses to cool the fuel tanks while they worked to unhook the pickup. Firefighters were able to use the truck to tear away from the burning trailer.