I-64 crash, fire destroy pickup, camper

From Local Sources

FERDINAND — A Georgia man escaped injury in a Saturday crash along I-64 between Ferdinand and Huntingburg that destroyed the man’s pickup truck and pull-behind camper.

Ferdinand Volunteer Fire Department Chief John Hoppenjans said the Georgia man was westbound in a late model GMC 1-ton pickup truck pulling a camper when one of the tires on the pull-behind unit blew at 11:38 a.m. at the 61-mile marker. The truck went off the north side of the interstate and down a 60-foot embankment with the camper catching fire.

Hoppenjans said the truck and camper went down the embankment after the truck left the travel portion of the roadway and contacted the muddy bank along the interstate.

The crash closed I-64 for about an hour but Ferdinand firefighters were on the scene four hours. The Ferdinand Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary brought cool water to firefighters and Hoppenjans had firefighters’ vitals checked by Memorial Hospital Emergency Medical Services during cool-down periods in air conditioning.

Hoppenjans said the scene along the interstate on a hot day with high humidity was one of the hottest fire scenes he had been part of.

The St. Henry Volunteer Fire Department was called in for tanker and manpower support. Hoppenjans said Ferdinand’s department had 11 firefighters and three trucks at the scene and St. Henry responded with two trucks and five firefighters.

Indiana State Police, the Ferdinand Police Department, a Storks wrecker and the Indiana Department of Transportation also assisted.

The crash and fire destroyed the truck and the camper.

Ferdinand units were called back to the scene at 4:03 p.m. for a rekindle involving the remains of the camper. Hoppenjans said a back awning inside a compartment caught fire on the camper, which was removed from alongside the interstate Sunday morning.

The response to the rekindle lasted about 25 minutes.

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