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LAYTON — A snow plow caught fire Monday morning in Layton, doing $1,000 in damage and serving as a reminder of how overwhelming storms like Sunday afternoon's can be for those tasked with keeping the streets clear of snow.
The fire broke out in the engine compartment of a one-ton truck that was clearing a cul-de-sac at about 2800 West and 75 North in Layton. A picture sent from the ksl.com app via iWitness shows the front of the truck seemingly engulfed in flames, but the driver of the truck was uninjured, according to Terry Coburn, director of the public works department.
"The fire department came, but by the time they got there, the driver had already put it out with his extinguisher that we carry in all the vehicles," Coburn said.
Coburn said the cause of the fire was an electrical shortage and was likely due to how much snow the area has seen this month.
"These guys have been out and the equipment's been out a lot, and the plows are being worked more than usual," he said. "The storm before this one just never quit for about two days, then we had that ice rain, which we had to go out and keep salting and sanding so emergency vehicles could get to where they needed to be. Then we had this one that hit yesterday, and now they're saying we're supposed to have another tomorrow."
He said the past few weeks have by far been the longest stretch in the past few years that the employees and equipment have had to consistently be out on the roads.
Overnight storms are easier to deal with if the sun comes out the next day, but storms that overlap or are followed by freezing temperatures, such as those seen in Northern Utah over the past few weeks, take a toll on the equipment.
Layton City has about 30 plows, all of which were out last night working on clearing the roads. Coburn said the truck that caught on fire Monday morning will likely be back in commission by the end of the day, and that "you can't predict these kinds of things," but the department is looking forward to February.
"All our plows were out in this storm, and the last one, and the one before that, and they will be tomorrow if this storm comes through," Coburn said. "We're getting closer to February, and the snowstorms will be wet, but they'll melt. It's these freezing temperatures we've had that makes it a lot tougher."