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Utility truck fire closes Pali

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    A Gas Co. utility truck caught fire on Pali Highway around noon yesterday, forcing the closure of the road in both directions for about two hours. Foam used to put out the fire flowed onto the highway.
    The interior of the Gas Co. truck was charred after yesterday's blaze. The truck's engine compartment caught fire, but firefighters extinguished the flames before the car's propane tank was damaged.

Pali Highway was shut down in both directions for several hours yesterday after a Gas Co. utility truck caught fire.

Two Gas Co. employees were heading town-bound on the highway to a service call shortly before noon when they noticed smoke coming from their utility truck, company spokeswoman Stephanie Ackerman said.

When they pulled the truck over in an area between the two Pali tunnels on the Kailua side and got out, they noticed flames coming from the hood, and they began to divert cars away from the stalled truck, Ackerman said.

Both sides of the Pali were shut down at 12:01 p.m., police dispatch said.

Neither the driver nor the passenger in the Gas Co. vehicle was injured, Honolulu fire Capt. Terry Seelig said.

The engine compartment of the truck caught fire but did not ignite the car’s propane tank that fuels the vehicle, Seelig said. Firefighters arrived on scene and extinguished the flames before there was damage to the propane tank, he said.

Police shut down both sides of the highway for about two hours. Motorists were rerouted at Kamehameha and Pali highways on the Kailua side and Pali Highway at Valley View Drive on the Nuuanu side.

Motorist Gary Cartwright said he was about 100 feet from the entrance of the tunnel headed toward Kailua at about 12:20 p.m. when traffic stopped.

Firetrucks from both the Olomana and Nuuanu stations responded to the incident, Seelig said.

The Gas Co. is trying to determine the cause of the fire, Ackerman said.


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