DRIVER HELPS EXTINGUISH FLAMES, SAVES FELLOW DRIVER FROM BURNING RIG
The Truckload Carriers Association has named Robbin Peters a Highway Angel for springing into action to extinguish flames and save a fellow truck driver from a burning rig.
It was April 8, 2019 and Peters had just parked his truck at a Petro in Hammond, Louisiana. He had no idea he was about to have a life-changing experience. Peters noticed a fellow driver exit a truck nearby and he headed inside the truck stop. Without thinking much about it, Peters assumed this was the only driver in the cab. A few minutes later Peters noticed dark smoke billowing out from under the passenger side of the truck. Leroy Kirk, a Petro employee, also recognized the smoke and came running out to assess the situation. He had not seen anyone from the truck go into the store, so the employee was under the assumption that someone must be in the truck. Without hesitation, Peters grabbed his fire extinguisher and ran over to the truck. When he got closer, he saw there were 2-foot flames now rolling under the front portion of the cab on the passenger’s side. Peters shared with TCA how hot and intense the flames were and that hot molten was dropping on to the fuel tank.
“I didn’t know at the time that there was still someone in the truck,” said Peters. “I was assuming it was just the one man that went inside. I began to start extinguishing the fire, and the Petro employee came running out and [started] knocking on the door. At this point I realized there was still someone inside,” he said.
Peters shared that by this point, there was a puddle that looked like lava and a soccer ball size hole in the fuel tank. “I didn’t know how much longer that tank would make it,” he said. “We had a row of trucks that were about to become the equivalent of a meteorite hitting earth. Because it was diesel, it didn’t explode. But if it would have been gas, I wouldn’t be having this conversation with you right now.”
Peters successfully extinguished the fire, and the Petro employee retrieved the other man, who had been sleeping inside the truck. The driver in the truck spoke broken English, but the men could tell he was terrified. The fire was directly under his bunk; the outcome was a good one all things considered.
Peters was in the Marine Corps for 11 years on active duty as well as a police officer for almost another 11 years. During this time, he was a first responder for an active shooter at an apartment complex, as well as saved a little girl in a wheelchair from a massive flood in a housing community. He has been driving trucks since he was 16, but now drives full time and is based outside of Biloxi, Mississippi.
“I’ve always been very busy, active, and drawn to high stress occupations and situations which is what has kept me so healthy,” shared Peters. “It keeps my awareness up; high-stress situations come naturally for me. Jimi Hendrix playing guitar is the way I handle stress. It’s like me breathing air! I’ve done it all my life that I don’t even recognize it as stress. I just go out and do what I have to do.”
For his willingness to assist a fellow driver, TCA has presented Peters with a certificate, patch, lapel pin, and truck decals. His employer has also received a certificate acknowledging their driver as a Highway Angel.
Since the program’s inception in August 1997, nearly 1,300 professional truck drivers have been recognized as Highway Angels for the exemplary kindness, courtesy, and courage they have displayed while on the job.