Hwy. 97 reopens after tow truck fire south of Redmond

Truck was hauling vehicle at time

REDMOND, Ore. - (Update; Both vehicles total losses; probable cause determined)

A flatbed tow truck towing a vehicle caught fire and brought firefighters to Highway 97 at Southwest 61st Street south of Redmond early Tuesday afternoon, blocking the highway for a time, initial reports indicated.

The flatbed tow truck from Epic Towing of Redmond was hauling a vehicle when the fire broke out around noon on southbound Highway 97, bringing Bend and Redmond firefighters to the scene, as well as a wildland fire engine working to make sure no spot fires spread to nearby brush and trees.

There were no reports of any injuries, but traffic was being stopped in both directions due to firefighting operations involving the truck, located on the highway's southbound shoulder.

The fire was reported "knocked down" by about 12:25 p.m., according to initial, unconfirmed scanner reports. The road was reopened in both directions by 1:40 p.m., though the "slow lane" heading south remained closed longer.

Bend Fire Battalion Chief Dave Howe said Monday both vehicles were total losses, estimated at $50,000. He said the cause appeared to be a mechanical or electrical failure in the engine compartment. The fire was accelerated by the rupture of the fuel line on the car on the flatbed, he said.

Meanwhile, in Jefferson County, there were two reported injuries in a two-vehicle crash on Highway 361 at Ford Lane north of Culver, reported around 11:45 a.m.

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