Brush fires sparked by misfiring truck exhaust burns across several towns

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MERRIMACK, NH – Brush fires spanning nearly nine miles erupted in several towns Sunday, apparently sparked by a truck with a faulty tailpipe that had flames coming from it as it traveled the highway.

On November 12, 2023, at approximately 1:30 p.m., Troopers from the New Hampshire State Police Troop B Barracks responded to multiple brush fires on the F.E. Everett Turnpike.  A witness reported a yellow Mack truck with “Kallwall” lettering written on the side panels, traveling Southbound with flames intermittently bursting from the exhaust pipes and starting brush fires at multiple locations on the side of the highway.

Merrimack Fire Department responded and was assisted by both Nashua and Bedford Fire Departments to put out the fires which started to catch deeper into the wood line.  In several locations the flames approached residential properties.  The right-hand travel lane was closed in several locations for approximately 30 minutes as crews worked to extinguish the flames.

Troopers are working to locate the responsible party for this incident.  Anyone with any information related to this incident is asked to contact Trooper Perciballi at (603) 271-3636.

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Multiple brush fires were reported, sparked by a truck with flames coming from the exhaust according to witnesses. Photo/NH State Police

After about two hours most of the fires were extinguished, when another incident occurred involving Merrimack Engine 5.

The engine had just refilled the water tank and was taking the Exit 12 off-ramp, turning onto Bedford Road. While the engine was making the turn a passenger car that was traveling East failed to stop and crashed into the side of the apparatus.
The driver of the engine was the only fire personnel in the engine, and quickly realized the vehicle had 5 occupants and it had caught on fire. The sole fire firefighter removed 4 children and 1 adult from the vehicle and then stretched a hose line. The vehicle fire was extinguished and medical attention began on all occupants of the vehicle.
Two ambulances and additional engines were dispatched to the scene and Bedford Road was closed and traffic backed up onto the turnpike.
All occupants of the vehicle had minor injuries and it appears they all refused to be transported to the hospital by the ambulances.
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An accident involving a car and a fire truck happened a few hours after brush fires erupted along the Everett Turnpike. Photo/Jeffrey Hastings

Jeffrey Hastings contributed to this report. 

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