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Excavator destroyed in fire near Sims

Posted on July 22, 2021

Local news
A firefighter from the Rock Ridge Volunteer Fire Department gathers hose after extinguishing an excavator fire Thursday afternoon on Old Raleigh Road outside Sims.

Drew C. Wilson | Restoration NewsMedia

A firefighter from the Rock Ridge Volunteer Fire Department gathers hose after extinguishing an excavator fire Thursday afternoon on Old Raleigh Road outside Sims.

dwilson@wilsontimes.com | 252-265-7818

SIMS — A Wilson County man escaped injury when the excavator he was operating caught fire Thursday afternoon.

Alex Alejandro, 20, of Sims, was operating a 2021 E85 Bobcat excavator when the engine ignited.

“I’m fine,” Alejandro said after firefighters from the Contentnea and Rock Ridge volunteer fire departments extinguished the fire around 2 p.m.

The 2018 Greenfield School graduate was working by himself on a property burning stumps and other wooden debris when the fire happened.

“I was just loading wood in the fire and I heard something blow in the engine,” Alejandro said. “It started getting in the cabin, so I just jumped out of it because I couldn’t breathe there.”

The property is near the intersection of Old Raleigh Road and St. Rose Church Road outside Sims.

Moments after the engine caught fire, the excavator was engulfed in flames.

“The engine is what caused the fire,” Alejandro said. “I went around back and saw the flames through the cracks.”

Alejandro said his father owns the vehicle, which he said was purchased this year for $93,000.

They are not cheap,” Alejandro said.

Alejandro said he couldn’t extinguish the fire.

“It was getting too big too quick for me to put it out,” Alejandro said. “It was like 30 seconds before the whole body was on fire. I just got away from it.”

Alejandro said the vehicle wasn’t insured.

The cabin where Alejandro had been sitting was destroyed, as well as the majority of the unit.

“It’s gone. It’s totaled,” Alejandro said.

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