Fire ruined a pickup and damaged a fifth-wheel trailer Wednesday morning near Pendleton.
Norman Dumont was eastbound on Trail Road, a few miles east of Pendleton, around 9:45 a.m. and hauling his Cameo trailer when he said he heard a “pop” under the hood of his 2008 Dodge pickup. Dumont said he saw what he thought was steam coming from the engine and pulled over to check it out.
“I opened the hood and the fire was just a-flaming,” he said.
He said he walked away and called 9-1-1.
Mike Tester said he was eastbound on Interstate 84 and saw the fire. He crossed the median to the westbound side, stopped on the shoulder and called for emergency services. He ran to the barbed wire fence and saw Dumont was out of harm’s way. Tester added he wished he had a fire extinguisher, but was not sure it would have been enough.
Flames covered the cab within moments and spread to the trailer, sending off plumes of black smoke. Dumont said the Cameo was top-of-the-line when he bought it in 2001, with “all the bells and whistles.” He even stocked it with canned food, he said, and just took it out of the shop to get it ready for summer travel.
Dumont lit a cigarette and watched from the roadside as his pickup and trailer burned. He said he has owned property in the area for 50 years and called himself a “gentleman farmer.” He said he takes care of his vehicles and had no idea what caused the blaze.
“Good thing I got a car,” he quipped.
The Umatilla Tribal Fire Department arrived with an engine and knocked down the fire. Dumont also called his insurance agent, who showed up a few minutes later and reassured his client he would take care of him.