There aren’t too many stories in our society these days of people choosing to sacrifice their own lives for the lives of complete strangers. More often, the motto of our culture is “every man for himself.” But one commercial truck driver, who was carrying hazardous chemicals, is being touted as a hero for his actions after his truck caught on fire.
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Randall McDougal, a 63-year-old truck driver in Arkansas, was driving down Highway 57 when he used his brakes to stop. Instead of stopping, however, his brakes reportedly caught on fire, according to witnesses.
Knowing he had explosive chemicals in the back of his truck, McDougal knew he couldn’t pull over as he was in a well-populated area of the state. He opted to call 911 and to get as far away from the populated area as he could.
McDougal was able to turn onto a rural road with no homes or cars passing by. Even after he put the vehicle in park, McDougal threw caution to the wind and continued to fight the inferno even as first responders arrived on the scene.
According to Bored Panda, first responders witnessed McDougal trying to put out the fire only to have the contents of his truck (ammonium nitrate) explode, leaving a 15-foot crater in the road.
The shock of the blast reportedly blew out windows of cars up to a mile away, according to Arkansas Online.
Sadly, McDougal was killed from the blast. Arkansas State Police said in a press conference following the blast that McDougals remains were found along the rural road. Camden Fire Chief Robert Medford explained what he saw when he arrived on the scene.
“It looks like a bomb went off,” Medford said. “There’s a big hole in the ground on where the truck was at.”
Three firefighters were injured while they attempted to put out the blaze. Police are still investigating what caused the vehicle to catch on fire.
Check out the video of the aftermath below.