Brush fire burns federally-owned truck

Wingate officials say fire is "suspicious"
Nov. 12, 2012 @ 05:54 PM

A large, military-surplus truck owned by the Town of Wingate caught fire Saturday afternoon. 

"We had two military-surplus vehicles that we were storing on a vacant lot," Town Manager Patrick Niland said. "Saturday afternoon, we found the bigger of the two vehicles on fire."

The lot was on Elm Street, on town property. 

The fire is being investigated and seems suspicious. While they do not have any suspects, it does appear that the fire was set intentionally, Niland said. 

The military vehicle is an M35 military surplus truck, more commonly known as a "deuce and a half." 

Niland said the vehicles had not run in about 10 years. 

"We never quite had a use for them," he said. "We were actually in the process of trying to give them back. It's a complicated process. You can't just sell them and you can't just scrap them."

The trucks were still federal property. Niland is not sure if there will be a federal investigation in addition to the Union County Fire Marshal and the Wingate Police Department investigations. 

The trucks had been lent to the police department and at the time of the fire, they were in the possession of the public works department, Niland said. 

Some of the brush surrounding the trucks caught fire, but apart from that there was no other physical damage. 

"We're still trying to get details," Niland said.