Gas torch landscaping truck in Basking Ridge, NJ

BERNARDS – A landscaping truck serving a Basking Ridge property caught fire on Wednesday night, leaving rush-hour traffic on Deer Ridge Road.

The 911 call to report the fire was made at 4:10 p.m., according to Liberty Corner Fire Chief Carl Blanchard. In less than 30 minutes, first responders arrived, extinguishing the blaze.

“When I got there the bed and the inside of the truck were both on fire,” Blanchard said.

Carlos Ovelar, owner of Green Valley Landscaping and the cremated truck, said he and his workers were returning to the Basking Ridge residence to complete some gardening job. While parked on the street, a fire broke out in the back of the vehicle and quickly spread to two cans of gasoline stored in the truck bed, causing them to explode.

“I just jumped up and ran away,” Ovelar said.

The fire lasted about 50 minutes, melting the tires and paint on the truck and destroying a small lawn mower.

Blanchard attributes the fire to a piece of equipment in the back of the landscaping truck.

Ovelar said there was a spare lawn mower battery in the rear of the vehicle.

“Maybe the battery scratched something and generated a spark,” Ovelar said.

John Philip Kalajian is a freelance journalist from New Jersey.

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