A tow truck operator hooks up a Ford Explorer that caught fire and burned on Highway 19 southbound in Parksville Sunday afternoon, Feb. 25, 2018. — J.R. Rardon photo

A tow truck operator hooks up a Ford Explorer that caught fire and burned on Highway 19 southbound in Parksville Sunday afternoon, Feb. 25, 2018. — J.R. Rardon photo

Truck fire, collision snarls traffic on Hwy 19 in Parksville

One person take to hospital for observation in Sunday incident

One person was sent to hospital for observation but there were no serious injuries following a vehicle fire and resulting three-car collision on Highway 19 in Parksville Sunday afternoon, Feb. 25, 2018.

Errington Volunteer Fire Department and Oceanside RCMP were called to southbound Highway 19, between the Alberni Highway and Highway 19A exits, with a report of a vehicle on fire, said Troy Bater, Errington VFD fire chief. Members arrived to find a silver Ford Explorer crew cab pickup engulfed in the breakdown lane.

Parksville Volunteer Fire Department and B.C. Ambulance Service also attended as the right lane was closed and traffic quickly backed up in both southbound lanes.

“We started working on (the fire), and apparently we had a three-vehicle (collision) in the lineup,” said Bater. “So that just slowed everything down.”

After extinguishing the fire, which scorched the front of the Explorer and also burned throught the cab of the truck, firefighers then sorted out the collision, which resulted in two vehicles being towed and the third driving from the scene.

“One person was taken to hospital (from the collision), just for observation,” said Bater, adding that all occupants of the burning pickup had gotten out of the vehicle before it was engulfed.

As a tow truck operator prepared to remove the Explorer and firefighters gathered traffic cones to reopen both southbound lanes of the highway, Bater was informed by an RCMP member that another vehicle was stuck in the highway median after attempting to cross to the northbound lanes.

“OK, I guess we’ll get that one next,” Bater said.