A fire ignited in a 40-foot motorhome along U.S. Highway 6 about 20 miles east of Tonopah, destroying the vehicle carrying a retired couple, who escaped injuries in the Halloween night blaze.
“I was coming up the hill here and everything was fine,” Jim Enger of Aumsville, Oregon, said at the rural Nevada scene. “Then, poof and smoke. So I looked for a place to get off (the highway) that was kind of safe and pulled over. By then, the whole back end was on fire.
“We got out right away. The fire started in the back, and we were up (in front) 40 feet. But the smoke got pretty acrid fast. Nasty smoke, fiberglass smoke, wood smoke and everything else.”
“We were able to get our pills, the most important stuff,” he said. “We couldn’t go back in. It was too smoky.”
The fire occurred prior to 6 p.m. on Monday.
Thick black smoke could be seen for miles. As firefighters fought the blaze, the highway was closed for at least an hour at Salisbury Peak.
Enger and his wife Lila, both 75, were headed from Death Valley to Ely to spend the night on their way to visit family in Idaho.
“We were just traveling and having a good time,” said Jim Enger, who had been driving the vehicle. “Everything was fine, then boom.”
He said it was about 30 minutes before the first car came.
“This is an isolated road. It is quite a ways out of town.”
The blaze was attributed to a fire involving the motor home’s engine, Tonopah Fire Chief Robert Elliott said.
The 1995 motorhome was a total loss, burned to its frame.
“It was in pristine condition,” Enger said. “Shucks. It was my favorite piece of equipment.”
“I’m glad we got out fine,” he added. “It (the fire) went from the back to the front in a hurry.”
But the fire’s direction allowed the Engers time to get out.
“I am glad nobody got hurt,” Jim Enger said. “It’s nice to have firefighters. They’re heroes.”
The Engers were towing an SUV, which was salvaged.
“We were heading to Twin Falls, Idaho where my brother lives,” Jim Enger said. “We had just called him (before the fire) and said we’d be there tomorrow afternoon. Now I have to call him back.”
After the fire, the couple was making plans to spend the night in Tonopah.
Tonopah fire responders included two engines, a rescue unit, command staff and an ambulance. Also on scene were the Nye County Sheriff’s Office and a Nye County Emergency Management staffer. A Nevada Highway Patrol trooper was en route from Fallon.
None of the first responders were hurt.
A closer look
Go the Facebook page of the Tonopah Times-Bonanza to see videos and photos of the fire.
Contact reporter David Jacobs at firstname.lastname@example.org