Hayden police officer Mark Berkley takes photos of a Ford F-250 that caught fire and burned in the Hayden High School parking lot Thursday morning. The school briefly locked down its classrooms as a precaution while firefighters from the West Routt Fire Protection District battled the blaze.

Photo by John F. Russell

Hayden police officer Mark Berkley takes photos of a Ford F-250 that caught fire and burned in the Hayden High School parking lot Thursday morning. The school briefly locked down its classrooms as a precaution while firefighters from the West Routt Fire Protection District battled the blaze.

West Routt firefighters extinguish vehicle fire in Hayden High School parking lot

— Classrooms at Hayden High School were locked down Thursday morning while firefighters extinguished a truck fire in the parking lot.

The truck’s owner, Matthew Wright, noticed smoke coming from the engine, West Routt Fire Protection District Chief Bryan Rickman said, and then ran into the school to get a fire extinguisher.

While in the school, Wright told his teacher that the truck was on fire, and the teacher called the fire department.

By the time firefighters arrived, the truck was engulfed, and concern about a possible explosion led officials to lock down the school briefly.

Rickman said there were two large fuel tanks with a 120-gallon capacity on the back of the truck, but he didn’t know how much fuel was in the tanks because they were locked.

“The students' safety inside the building was never really an issue,” Rickman said. “We just felt that it would be safer to keep the children in the classrooms until the situation was under control.”

Firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze, but the truck was a total loss.

Rickman could not confirm the cause of the fire because of the extent of the damage, but he said there were signs that the fuel line might have been leaking where it connected to the carburetor.

“There is not enough left to really tell, but that’s how it looks,” Rickman said.

Wright spent most of the winter working on the 1987 Ford F-250 that his grandfather named “Christine.” Last weekend, Wright and his grandfather got the truck running after it had been sitting unused for the past three years.

“They spent a lot of time together working on it,” Wright’s grandmother Cindy Wright said. “It was a pretty big project for them.”

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209 or email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com

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