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Then on 3 May 96...

My boss called me back to work. I hadn't driven the truck in a couple of weeks (it used to have quite a taste for gas and we were a little short on funds that payday) but I decided I would take the truck and have a little fun. I grabbed the boys and took them with me. I noticed it was back firing through the carb and figured I must of had some junk plugging one of the jets, but I stopped at the gas station, put in $10 worth of gas and continued on my way (mistake #1). I got to work and did what I had to do.

While I was there the boss came down and asked me if I would make sure one of our other buildings was locked up. The boys and I jumped into the truck and headed over to the building. As I was pulling up to the building, the truck backfired through the carb again and stalled. I asked the boys to go and check the doors. As they opened the door and jumped out of the truck, they kicked a YooHoo bottle out on the ground and it broke. I got out to pick up the glass, leaving the ignition in the on position (mistake #2). By the time I got done throwing the glass into the back of the truck, I noticed smoke coming out from under the hood.

I tried to start the truck to suck out the fire but it would not start. So I popped the hood, leaving the ignition in the on position again (mistake #3) At this point let me add that I had an electronic fuel pump in the truck that came on only when the ignition was in the on position. Once I got the hood up I noticed my air filter was on fire. (The truck also had an oil/gauze K&N Filter Charger air filter) So I removed the air filter (mistake #4) and saw my carb was totally engulfed in flames. I took off my teeshirt and tried to beat out the flames but it was burning too hot. So, I grabbed my building keys out of the truck, leaving my wallet and a bunch of other valuables (mistake #5) and ran into the building to call 911.

Crispy critter from the outside.

Now, let me also make the point that the fire department on Gunter AFB (where this all happened) was no more then a half a mile away. The 911 operator wanted my name, home phone number, duty phone number, social security number, rank, etc. I was frantically trying to tell her that my vehicle was burning to the ground. It took the fire department 7 minutes to get to my truck. By the time they got there, the flames had burned through the fuel line and the electronic fuel pump was blowing 93 octane gas into the fire which was shooting 40 feet into the air and totally engulfing the cab. The boys were crying, I was nearly in tears. My whole scalp was twitching and I wanted to physically remove the heads of the cops and fire department when they finally arrived.

The scorched interior.

They finally got the truck put out and handed me a critique. I was so mad I tore it up. After it was all over. I walked into the building to lock it back up. I looked down the hall and there, hanging on the wall, slightly behind a flipchart, was a class A, B, C fire extinguisher. But I was so frantic, just wanting to get the fire department out there, that I didn't even notice it. (mistake #6).

Baked pony power

I had liability insurance (mistake #7). It was a total loss.

So what do you think? Is this a sad story or what?



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