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WESTMINSTER >> A tractor trailer caught fire after its operator drove through an underpass near the intersection of Route 5 and Route 123.

According to Cole Streeter, Chief of the Westminster Volunteer Fire Department, the fire was called in at 12:13 p.m. and was contained within 30 minutes. Streeter noted that thankfully the items inside the trailer were non-flammable or non-hazardous. The operator evacuated the trailer and walked down to the Westminster Animal Hospital to ask for help. At this time no known injuries were reported.

Streeter added that crews were still cleaning up the roadside around 6:45 p.m. and that he believed Route 123 was open only one direction.

"The trailer was compromised to point they did not think they would be able to drag it with another wrecker or tractor," Streeter said.

According to the Vermont State Police, Joseph T. Walkins Jr., 35, of Miramar, Fla., was driving a Freightliner tractor trailer when the vehicle got stuck under the railroad bridge at Route 123.

Walkins was backing up the truck when another motorist told him his truck was on fire. Walkins attempted to extinguish the fire but it re ignited and the vehicle became fully involved in flames. The cab and front part of the trailer were destroyed by the blaze.

There were no injuries.

The cause of the mechanical fire is still unknown at this time.


According to Streeter Westminster Fire Department, Vermont State Police, the Windham County Sheriff Office and Walpole, N.H., Fire Department responded to the scene.

Maddi Shaw can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 275