A total 11 occupants were able to get out of an motorhome safely, after it caught fire Thursday morning about eight miles south of Crawford. Nebraska State Patrol PR Director Cody Thomas noted the vehicle was en route from Fort Robinson to Lincoln when the driver, John Benes noticed the check engine light came on. Brian Buxbaum, a patrol lieutenant with the NSP, said the driver noticed some smoke coming from the rear engine compartment, and after pulling over to check it out realized the entire area was engulfed in flames.
The driver and all other 10 occupants were able to exit the vehicle safely before it fully caught fire, Buxbaum said. In addition to NSP, the Dawes County Sheriff’s Office, Crawford Fire Department and Hemingford Fire Department responded. Estimated damage to the vehicle was about $5,000.
Though the firefighters’ role is apparent in these situations, Buxbaum explained law enforcement officers work such incidents as any other accident or crash, completing required reports and submitting them to the Nebraska Department of Transportation.
“With that many people in the vehicle, we were busy transporting them where they needed to go,” Buxbaum added. That included getting them to hotels in Chadron, Crawford and Alliance. Thomas further pointed out there was great showing from the community as well, with local farmers and ranchers transporting luggage.
“Everyone was safe and accounted for,” Thomas said. “It definitely was a team effort to help these folks out."