Freightliner truck on fire in the parking lot of a school
Firefighters get ready to knock down a truck fire on Friday afternoon in a school’s parking lot on Bellfountain Road. (Photo provided by Philomath Fire & Rescue)

A Freightliner truck that caught fire after pulling over into the Muddy Creek Charter School parking lot was a total loss but the excavator that it had been hauling was saved.

Philomath Fire & Rescue responded to the driver’s call for help at 5:02 p.m. Friday. Capt. Rich Saalsaa was the first to arrive at the scene to find a fully-involved fire in the truck’s cab. The next incoming engine attacked the blaze and had it knocked down within six minutes by an engine crew of four personnel, he reported.

A water tender with two personnel also arrived on scene and stood by in case more water would be required.

“The fire was largely contained to the cab with small involvement of the engine compartment,” Saalsaa said. 

No injuries were reported.

The truck had been hauling an excavator and fuel cell on its bed.

“The excavator was successfully removed by the operator before the arrival of the fire crews,” Saalsaa said. “The truck is a total loss. The fire likely was caused by an electrical short, determined after a short investigation and interview of the truck operator who noticed smoke coming from under the dash and pulled the truck over safely into the school parking lot.”

The truck was a total loss but the driver successfully removed the excavator that it had been hauling. (Photo provided by Philomath Fire & Rescue)

Muddy Creek Charter School is located on Bellfountain Road roughly 7 miles from Philomath.

Traffic was reduced to one lane during firefighting operations with the Benton County Sheriff’s Office providing traffic control.