The charred and melted trailer was still parked in the parking lot an hour after the fire and employees were still buzzing about the event.
“I was scared,” said Ashley Hudgins, one of the employees. “I was worried about it blowing the whole parking lot because they didn’t know what was on it.”
The truck driver, Michael Abbott of Jones Transportation in Atlanta, was still at the station, but declined to comment on the situation.
Hudgins said the truck pulled into the parking lot a few minutes before 2 p.m., while she was in the kitchen of the gas station’s restaurant. As he pulled into the parking lot his tire blew out.
“You could actually feel the vibration in the kitchen,” she said.
Another truck driver told the people in the station to evacuate after Abbott told him he was unsure of what was in his trailer, she said. There were three customers in the station who left immediately; the employees all left the station and stood at the fence at the far end of the parking lot to wait for the firefighters, Hudgins said.
Heflin Fire Captain Matt Corban said when the firefighters arrived at the station, the trailer was parked about 50 yards from the building.
The driver had pulled into the station when he realized his trailer was on fire, Corban said. He detached his cab and moved it away from the fire, he added.
The firefighters put out the fire within five minutes, Corban said. The trailer was filled with plastic polymer pellets used to make electrical cable, he said, and the fire started from an overheated rear axle that caused the wooden floor of the trailer to burn.
Staff writer Laura Camper: 256-463-2872. On Twitter @LCamper_Star.