The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


December 24, 2013

Presents, truck go up in flames

— Tracy Miller escaped a fire unharmed on Tuesday afternoon, but his girlfriend’s Christmas presents did not fare nearly as well.

Around 1 p.m., the New Florence resident noticed his tractor trailer’s cab was on fire as he drove along Fairfield Avenue in Johnstown.

He got out of the truck without suffering any injury from fire or smoke. Some presents he recently purchased, though, were destroyed.

“It’s the day before Christmas, so it’s tough,” Miller said.

Miller was taking a shipment from Eddystone, a borough in Delaware County, to Pittsburgh.

He noticed problems when driving into the West End neighborhood.

“The brakes locked up,” Miller explained. “I pulled it to the side of the road. I kind of drug it. I looked out, saw some smoke coming out from underneath. I got out. Flames started shooting up. I went to grab my fire extinguisher.

“I opened the door. Woooosh, it blew more flames. I said, ‘nope’ and that’s about it.”

Johnstown’s police and fire departments responded to the incident within minutes.

“The truck was driving up Fairfield Avenue and an off-duty police officer noticed that there was a large amount of flames coming out from underneath the cab area,” said Johnstown police Officer Erin Kabler.

“He was able to help the driver get stopped and alert the fire department. ... The fire department did an outstanding job of stopping the fire and preventing any further damage.”

Miller was driving the truck for Hogan, a transportation business from Columbus, Ohio.

“The company’s a very good company I work for,” Miller said. “They keep the trucks up. It’s just one of those things that happen.”

The cause of the fire was not immediately known.

Dave Sutor is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at

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