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Potato shipment bakes as truck burns

Police said a mechanical defect probably set off the fire that destroyed a tractor trailer and its potato shipment
Credit: Maine State Police
Before fire destroyed the tractor trailer he was driving, 57-year-old William Estabrook of Houlton got clear of the danger without being hurt

ETNA (NEWS CENTER Maine) -- Cooking began prematurely before a shipment of potatoes had even left the road.

Police said 57-year-old William Estabrook of Houlton knew something was wrong by the popping sound coming from his tractor trailer. He first noticed the noise around 11:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 21 as he was hauling potatoes along Interstate 95 in Etna.

Credit: Maine State Police
Interstate 95 in Etna was closed for about 45 minutes on June 21, 2018 while firefighters worked to quell a fire that broke out in a tractor trailer hauling potatoes

Estabrook told police that he pulled off to the side of the road to make a check of his rig only to see that it was on fire. From a safe distance he watched as the fire spread until the truck was destroyed.

A highway closure in the area around the truck lasted about 45 minutes until emergency crews decided traffic could proceed safely again, although one lane remained closed into the next morning.

Police said a mechanical defect probably set off the fire.

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