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Labor Day weekend busy for Lincoln Co. first responders

by SCOTT SHINDLEDECKER
The Western News | September 6, 2022 7:00 AM

A holiday weekend may mean an extra day off from the job, but for first responders it often means an increased chance of more work.

That was the case this past weekend in Lincoln County.

It actually began Thursday, Sept. 1 as local fire crews responded to several area wild fires that were spawned from a lighting storm that passed through the area the previous night.

Thursday evening, Libby Volunteer Fire Department firefighters, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office and Libby Volunteer Ambulance were on the scene of a truck fire a few miles west of Libby on U.S. 2. The truck was hauling carbon dioxide, a non-flammable gas, when its air brakes malfunctioned and caught fire, according to the driver of the vehicle.

He had been making deliveries to places where high quantities of carbonated beverages are served. But he did have a tank of oxygen in the truck. Oxygen can cause other materials to burn much more rapidly and extreme heat can also cause tanks to explode.

Fortunately, the driver got the tank out of the truck, then used his fire extinguisher and some good Samaritans stopped to help.

“A UPS driver from Troy helped me put the fire out with his extinguisher,” the man said.

Fire crews proceeded to douse the breaks and tires with water to make sure the fire didn’t begin again.

Then, volunteers from David Thompson Search and Rescue were on the way to an injured person at Upper Cedar Lake after dark on Friday, Sept. 2, and to another injured individual at Leigh Lake on the morning of Saturday, Sept. 3.

On both calls, ground crews continued on foot to reach the injured person until they learned that Two Bear Air was able to get both people out, according to a social media post.

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A helicopter drops water on the Williams Creek Fire on Thursday, Sept. 1. (Scott Shindledecker/The Western News)