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Fuel tanker truck burns at Juniper Butte weigh station

Heat of fuel tanker fire melted tires to the asphalt at the ODOT weigh station near Juniper Butte Friday morning.
Jessie Foster/KTVZ
Heat of fuel tanker fire melted tires to the asphalt at the ODOT weigh station near Juniper Butte Friday morning.

Driver said brakes locked up; fire crews keep flames from reaching fuel

CULVER, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A fuel tanker truck burned at the weigh station on Highway 97 south of Culver Friday morning, but Jefferson County firefighters said they were able to keep the flames from reaching 3,400 gallons of fuel or an empty tanker trailer it was towing.

The fire at the southbound ODOT weigh station near Juniper Butte prompted Jefferson County sheriff's deputies and Oregon State Police to close Highway 97 in both directions at milepost 108 for about an hour.

Jefferson County Fire District No, 1 responded around 6:45 a.m. to the reported fuel tanker fire, Fire Chief Brian Huff said.

Incident Commander Jim Brown arrived to find a semi-truck/fuel tanker with trailer hauling gasoline, with the fire involving the back of the truck and rear of the tank on the truck. The trailer was not yet involved, Huff said.

The fire district responded with an Airport Crash Rescue Firefighting (ARFF) truck, two structure engines, a water tender and two duty officer vehicles, Huff said.

The ARFF made the initial knockdown of the tanker fire and the others helped put out the blaze. Damage was limited to the rear of the tanker truck and rear part of the fuel tank, Huff said.

Fire crews were able to save the front half of the fuel tank, the cab/front end of the truck and the empty fuel tanker trailer.

Huff said the fire was caused by the brake system, which according to the driver had locked up.

An ODOT representative on-scene said the truck tanker that was burning held about 3,400 gallons of fuel that will need to be siphoned into another tanker.

The heat of the fire melted the tires on one side of the truck into the pavement at the weigh station, which will need to be shoveled off. The weigh station itself apparently had no other damage.

The ODOT official said the fire apparently began while the truck was on the highway, prompting the driver to pull off at the weigh station.

The truck was marked as being with KAG West, the West Sacramento, California-based affiliate of Kenan Advantage Group, a transportation firm based in North Canton, Ohio. A call to KAG West was referred to the Ohio corporate headquarters. where calls were not immediately returned.

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Jessie Foster

Jessie Foster is an anchor, producer and reporter for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Jessie here.



  1. Strong suspicion that he should have checked his brakes before he took off from his stop in Madras. Getting to be that season – they freeze but not driving down the road – almost always happens when stopped.

    1. Absolutely. Unless I missed it, the story made no mention of the driver stopping in Madras but it would be a fairly safe bet because the trailer was already empty.
      KAG has a few good drivers, but most of their drivers leave a lot to be desired.

  2. Kudos to the ARFF… Can’t believe they were able to get there so quickly.
    It could have had a very different outcome still having 3400 gallons of gas
    in the truck tank, and even worse, an empty trailer full of vapors…

    1. Seriously ? There is no way you can be serious…If it was a planed terrorist attack, do you think the driver would have stopped in a place where there are no people, other than those who are driving by on 97? The weigh station was closed so there wasn’t anyone there either… A terrorist attack is going to happen where it will do the most damage.

    2. Yes. I’m sure ISIS sent someone to level Juniper Butte. Or maybe the stores in Madras brought ISIS and were targeting the high bridge so locals couldn’t get to Redmond or Bend to shop for Black Friday. I really hope Homeland Security gets to the bottom of it. Something has to be done with the terrorists in central Oregon!

  3. Now that the video has been posted, it shows that they were really lucky, because
    the passenger side of the rear compartment of the tank that’s on the truck burned on
    the passenger side opening it up. So it appears the rear compartment was also empty.
    The only thing that kept the 3400 gallons of fuel in the front compartment from going up was the bulkhead that separates the two compartments,and it’s aluminum, just like the rest of the tank. Had the rear compartment also had gas inside of it, the pictures of the truck would look
    a lot different…

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