Plow driver speaks out after assisting at Andover car fire
ANDOVER, Mass. (WHDH) -- A car caught fire and erupted in flames on Interstate 93 South in Andover Wednesday morning.
While crews battled the flames, the fire sent a line of flames shooting down the road, nearly igniting a plow truck.
Alex Niles was just finishing his overnight shift when he pulled over to make sure the driver of the car was safe.
“The gentleman was outside the truck and I had him stand behind my truck until he was safe,” Niles told 7News. “I think he was more in shock. He said he was having some mechanical problems with the car and he wasn’t really sure what was wrong with it.”
Fuel was leaking from the vehicle and then the car’s gas tank exploded. The fuel burned and towards Niles’ plow.
“The gas was running towards the storm drain. It was burning as it was going down the snow bank. So we just backed the truck up so it wouldn’t completely lose the truck,” said Niles.
Niles eventually jumped out of the truck -- the flames and gas had gotten under the plow.
The Andover fire department, knowing the car couldn’t be saved, put all their energy into saving the plow truck. In the end, the plow only had a melted bumper.
“Nothing major that can’t be fixed and everybody was safe so that’s the big thing,” said Niles.
The highway chief said Niles did a terrific job, especially considering the long hours Niles had worked during the blizzard.
“Now on top of that he had to deal with a vehicle on the ramp on fire. He did a great job -- again he went above and beyond what we expect,” said Frank DePaola, administrator of the highway division.
Niles will likely get an award from Massdot’s highway division.
“That’s what we do. Everybody’s there. I was the first one there and just make sure everybody’s safe. That’s part of our job, just making sure everybody is safe on the highways and that’s what I did,” said Niles.
The off-ramp of Exit 42 was closed for part of the morning commute. No one was injured.