Extinguishing a fire in a Federal Express rig, consisting of a tractor pulling two trailers, required four Myrtle Fire Department trucks and multiple firemen Friday afternoon.
Myrtle Fire Chief Clay Morman said his department received the fire call at 3:45 p.m., July 8. About ten Myrtle firemen plus firemen from the West Union Fire Department fought the blaze on Interstate 22, a short distance west of the Myrtle exit. Westbound lanes of I-22 were closed while they fought the fire and helped clean up the mess.
Chief Morman said the fire was apparently caused by a malfunction of the braking system on the tractor. That set fire to the first trailer immediately behind the tractor, destroying much of its contents.
Firemen also helped off-load undamaged merchandise from the burned trailer to another trailer. A large trash container was brought to the scene for the damaged freight.
There were no injuries to fire fighting personnel or to the truck driver. Westbound I-22 had been reopened, but traffic was still backed up for more than a mile when these NEMiss.News photographs were taken at 6:30 p.m.
It was the second truck fire in three days at nearly the same place on I-22. An 18-wheeler was on fire at mile marker 53 between 10 and 11 a.m. Tuesday morning, July 5. The Myrtle Fire Department also extinguished that truck fire, for which both east and west-bound lanes of the interstate highway were closed for a time. The Tuesday fire did not involve a FedEx truck. There were no injuries in that fire.
Just two days earlier, Sunday, July 3, a motorcyclist was seriously injured in an accident at the Myrtle I-22 exit. The injured motorcyclist was airlifted to a hospital. Although his injuries were described as very serious, he was expected to survive.
Myrtle firemen were also the first responders to the Sunday motorcycle accident.
Clay Morman got home about 9:30 Friday evening and said he and his fellow Myrtle firemen were hoping for a quieter weekend.
There are widespread complaints that Federal Express trucks are involved in too many accidents. Some statistical data say FedEx trucks were involved in 1,762 accidents in the years prior to 2017, which caused 573 injuries and 41 deaths.
Tragic and memorable was the 2014 incident in which a FedEx rig pulling two trailers crashed through the barrier dividing an interstate highway in California. It struck an automobile, then struck a bus transporting high school students to a college visit. The bus was destroyed by fire taking ten lives and causing many serious burn injuries.
More recently, about seven months ago on Dec. 17, 2021, a FedEx truck on Interstate 35 near Denton, Texas, hit a concrete barrier, flipped, and burst into flames. There were injuries in the Texas incident, but no deaths.
Closer to home and even more recently, on Feb. 8, 2022, a FedEx truck struck multiple other vehicles on southbound Interstate 55 near mile marker 16 at McComb, MS. There were multiple injuries in the McComb accident.
A few days later, on February 16, 2022, on Interstate 10 near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a FedEx driver crashed through orange warning cones that had been set up because of an earlier accident. A wrecker driver there to deal with the earlier accident was seriously injured when the FedEx truck knocked another vehicle into him as he was doing his work. The wrecker driver had to be airlifted for emergency medical care. The FedEx driver was arrested.
Public safety personnel, lawyers and insurance company people blame the FedEx truck wrecks on everything from poor truck maintenance to improper loading of trailers to driver error, including drivers operating trucks without adequate sleep.
Much of the evidence is anecdotal and available statistical data are neither comprehensive nor conclusive.
In March of this year, a statement by Federal Express claimed the company operates 87,000 vehicles and had had only 400 accidents during a recent year. The FedEx statement said, “…you have to agree that having less than 1% of their vehicles involved in an accident is quite a feat.”
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