Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
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Samantha Hayes reportingA car caught -fire on I-15 in Davis County, sending a massive plume of black smoke into the air. The cause was something troopers say is all too common, and something that could happen to any of us, anytime.
ANDREW DAVENPORT: UTAH HIGHWAY PATROL: "PEOPLE AREN'T SECURING A LOT OF THINGS IN THEIR VEHICLES..WE'RE HAVING A LOT OF PROBLEMS WITH DEBRIS IN THE ROAD."
The Utah Highway Patrol says summer is the season for hazardous debris on the road. One piece today nearly caused a fatal accident.
We talk a lot about drunk drivers, exhausted drivers, aggressive drivers. But the Highway Patrol is pointing to another hazard on the road that can by just as deadly.
Driving toward this thick, black, smoke, trooper Andrew Davenport knew he was pulling up to something serious.
ANDREW DAVENPORT: UTAH HIGHWAY PATROL: "THIS WAS A MAJOR FIRE..I TOLD THEM OVER THE EMERGENCY CHANNEL THIS WAS A LARGE FIRE..I COULD TELL THE VEHICLE WOULD BE FULLY ENGULFED WHEN I ARRIVED."
His first thoughts are of who may be inside, as the tires pop, and flames consume the entire car.
ANDREW DAVENPORT: UTAH HIGHWAY PATROL: "THEY ARE LUCKY..THEY WERE AN ELDERLY COUPLE AND I'M REALLY GLAD THEY GOT OUT OF THE VEHICLE. I WASN'T SURE IF THEY WERE IN THE VEHICLE WHEN I CAME UP..YEA, THEY ARE LUCKY."
The cause of the fire has nothing to do with the car...or the driver. A trailer hitch-like the one you see on the back of this truck had come loose and fallen off onto the freeway. It punctured the gas tank of the oncoming car.
SAMANTHA HAYES/EYEWITNESS NEWS: "TROOPERS SAY ITS RARE FOR DEBRIS IN THE ROAD TO CAUSE A FIRE BUT THAT MANY ACCIDENTS ON UTAH HIGHWAYS ARE THE RESULT OF DRIVERS SWERVING TO AVOID OBJECTS LIKE THIS IN THE ROAD."
Especially in the summer, when long weekends mean loading up all sorts of cumbersome devices for camping, or boating. Often times, those things end up on the roads.
ANDREW DAVENPORT: UTAH HIGHWAY PATROL: "THERE HAVE BEEN LATELY QUITE A FEW ACCIDENTS RELATED TO DEBRIS AND WE HAVE IN THE PAST HAD FATALITIES FROM THAT."
All it takes is a piece of tire tread sitting in the middle of the interstate during rush hour
Highway patrol picks up a lot of it.....but the responsibility is up to drivers.
ANDREW DAVENPORT: UTAH HIGHWAY PATROL: "I WOULDN'T RECOMMEND SWERVING FOR TIRE TREAD EVER, YOU ARE GOING TO DO DAMAGE IN THE CASE OF LARGE TREADS BUT ITS NEVER WORTH SWERVING AND ROLLING YOUR VEHICLE."
The Highway Patrol says the only time you should swerve is if your car is approaching something...like an extremely large object or large animal.