Couple Escapes Semi Fire

Published: Jun. 6, 2013 at 9:01 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 18, 2013 at 2:57 PM CDT
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Walters, Ok_A semi truck caught fire in Southwest Oklahoma with a husband and wife asleep inside.

The 18-wheeler was in the parking lot of a rest stop just north of the Walters tollbooth on the I-44 turnpike.

The couple was able to jump to safety before flames engulfed the truck.  Benjamin Bustillos says fortunately he and his wife, Claudia, were unharmed.

He said it was Claudia's quick response that kept them from being burned alive.  "Oh, this is my angel. If she no wake up, we are maybe die," Bustillos said.

He's now trying to figure out how the fire started.  "I don't know what happened. We was sleeping and a moment I know wake up my wife she wake up when the truck was on fire," Bustillos shared.

He said they had driven up from Mexico about five hours before the fire.  At the time, the truck seemed fine. "We checking the truck, put water in the truck it's in good condition," Bustillos said.

However, a short time after they fell asleep, Claudio Bustillos was awakened by the sound of crunching metal, flames and smoke billowing from the engine. She shook Bustillos several times to wake him up.

"I go to open the doors and go out and my wife 'hey come on, come on hurry' and she, she followed me," Bustillos said.

After escaping the fire, they watched the cargo burn to the ground. It was carrying about 40-thousand pounds of red grapes destined for Illinois.

Bustillos has been driving big rigs for more than 25 years and had the truck a little more than eight months. He said this is the first time anything like this has ever happened.

Fire officials believe faulty wiring in the engine could be to blame but there's no way to tell because the truck is severely damage.

It took fire crews from Walters about three hours to put the fire out. The charred remains were hauled off by a wrecker company until the truck company can come out and take a look at the damage.