Spontaneous Combustion Fries Dad's Farm Truck

No tires, no windows, no door handles--the fire consumed it all.
It went out in a ball of fire. At least that's what the evidence suggests. There was no one there to actually see it go. 


My 84 year-old dad had driven his pickup out to the "East 80" (also known as "Lawrence's pasture") to work on the fence. He left his pickup near a clump of  juniper trees and walked around to the other side to get to work. 
The interior is gutted; the seat is just...gone.

While working he thought he heard a couple of gunshots and wondered about hunters in the area. 


The windshield melted.






When he returned to his truck sometime later he noticed a puff of smoke rising. He was mildly concerned. Then, as he got closer he realized what had happened. His pickup truck had burned up. Completely. No tires. No interior. Glass from the windows was pooled in a molten mass. It must have been a very hot and fast fire.
A ring of burnt grass surrounds the truck.






Why? He doesn't know. We don't either. Bad wiring? Or perhaps something to do with the recent transmission work on the truck? "Maybe it was struck by lightening," he speculates. 


The insurance adjuster's cryptic assessment.
The pickup, so vitally important for farm work will be missed. But in surveying the damage, our reaction is one of gratitude, not sorrow.


  • The fire did not spread.  The truck is surrounded by a 10 foot ring of charred grass. The nearby juniper trees are singed. It doesn't take much imagination to realize what could have happened, but didn't.
  • The truck needed to be replaced. Purchased in 1995, the 1984 Chevy had already driven more miles, hauled more hay and transported more cattle and hogs than could be expected. Frequent breakdowns and repair bills meant that a replacement was already being considered. 
  • Over the years, the truck had hauled tons of hay for the cattle.
  • It didn't happen any place else. It wasn't in the storage barn where the truck was normally parked beside the cars and tractor and where some of this summer's hay is stored. He wasn't driving it. (Thank God-that thought makes me tremble.) Nobody was injured. 
    Dad's cattle are gentle and are well cared for.
The little girl is growing up, but the grandpa and the truck remained much the same until recently.


Still, this truck has been a fixture on the farm for so long that it just seems a little strange without it. 



And now a moment of silence as we remember the old farm truck.

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