NORTH EAST — Two brothers employed by a company contracted by the State Highway Administration required hospital treatment Monday after their work truck caught fire on a North East-area highway, according to the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office.
The blaze, which started in the truck bed, was discovered about 12:45 p.m. in the 2900 block of West Pulaski Highway as the two brothers — Raymond and Anthony Sank — were traveling from North East to Perryville after completing road work, fire officials reported.
After pulling the vehicle over, the brothers attempted to extinguish the flames, fire officials said. While doing so, fire officials added, Raymond Sank suffered burns to both hands and Anthony Sank suffered smoke inhalation.
Raymond Sank was transported to the Bayview Burn Center near Baltimore, where he was treated for first-degree and second-degree hand burns, reported Sr. Deputy State Fire Marshal Oliver J. Alkire, an agency spokesman who classified those burns as minor.
His brother, meanwhile, was transported to Union Hospital in Elkton and he, too, was discharged later that day after doctors treated him for minor smoke inhalation, according to Alkire.
The blaze caused approximately $30,000 in damage to the truck, which is owned by Road Safety LLC, and it destroyed an estimated $1,000 in property inside the vehicle, Alkire reported. Investigators concluded that a “recently used hot” propane torch had ignited plastic and other combustibles on that truck bed, triggering the blaze, Alkire explained.
Moments before discovering the fire while traveling west on West Pulaski Highway (Route 40), the brothers had loaded equipment onto the truck bed after their crew had put down striping on that road near North East, fire officials said.
Raymond Sank burned his hands while trying to remove equipment from the truck bed as he and his brother attempted to snuff out the blaze with fire extinguishers, fire officials added.
A crew of five firefighters with North East Volunteer Fire Co. extinguished the blaze in five minutes, according to fire officials.
Fire detectives listed “accidental” as the cause of the blaze, Alkire reported.
“Investigators concluded combustible materials came into contact with the recently used propane torch used to lay down the striping,” Alkire explained.