A Carson City employee escaped injury Monday afternoon after his street sweeper caught fire while he drove south on Nevada Street near the Ormsby House.
Fully engulfed in flames sparked by an engine fire, the $160,000 Schwarze A7000 Regenerative Air Sweeper caught fire three times before a Carson City fire crew arrived to extinguish the blaze.
Carson City equipment operator Ed Law said he was able to get out of the cab in time, and only his lunch and coat were sacrificed inside the charred remains of the sweeper.
"I smelled smoke and I looked out the back window and saw flames," the 60-year-old Carson City man said. "I had it out with one fire extinguisher, but then it ignited again."
Law said that he called the city vehicle maintenance department and service man Ray Duke arrived and used his fire extinguisher to put out the second fire. They called the Carson City Fire Department at 2:10 p.m. as the third fire ignited.
"A fuel line broke and it was spraying fuel on the engine and that's what ignited it," said Law, an 11-year city employee.
A three-man fire crew extinguished the blaze in less than a minute, said fire department Battalion Chief Bob Charles.
He said the fire started in the engine from a mechanical malfunction, and Law did all he could to extinguish it. The fire then spread to the hopper, which is the vacuum in the rear of the sweeper that picks up refuse.
n Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1212.