Trucker Honored for Saving Sleeping Trucker From Burning Big Rig

Holladay, TN – A Virginia trucker is being hailed a hero after potentially saving the life of a fellow driver following a truck fire back in June.

According to the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA), the fire and rescue took place on Sunday, June 7 at the North 40 Truck Stop off of Interstate 40 near Holladay, TN.


Trucker Bobby Bourne, of Tazewell, VA, stopped for his 30-minute break and was cleaning his windshield around 10 a.m.

It was then Bourne heard what he described as a “squealing” noise.

“It sounded like a belt on an engine slipping and squealing,” Bourne recalled.

He looked around and noticed a parked reefer trailer in the truck stop parking lot had erupted into flames.

Bourne immediately jumped down from his truck, ran over to the burning rig, and started beating on the side of the sleeper.

“I was afraid someone was sleeping inside the truck,” Bourne stated.

And he was right.


Bourne recalled that as he was beating on the truck, a driver looked out of the window.

According to Bourne, he yelled at the sleepy driver to “get out of the truck!”

The driver thankfully took direction from Bourne and left all of his belongings inside the burning rig as he escaped to safety.

“There just was no time,” Bourne says. “The heat was unbelievable.”

Bourne said the driver had no sooner exited the truck when a tire on the back axle blew.

“It literally knocked me down on the ground. I said, ‘Oh Lord, have mercy.’ We all ran away from the truck as the flames began engulfing the back of the sleeper,” he recounted.


The driver — who was not named — told Bourne he was an owner operator from the Harrisburg, VA area. 

“My biggest fear is being asleep in a truck and it catching on fire and no one waking me up in time,” Bourne admitted. “I hope someone would do the same for me.”

Following the rescue, Bourne helped the drive contact his wife — since the driver’s phone and belongings were left inside the burning rig — and even took photos of the truck’s damage for insurance purposes.

Bourne said when it was over, the driver hugged and thanked him for saving his life.


“At the end of the day, trucking is a family and we’re all out here trying to do a job. We’ve only got each other. I believe the good Lord put me in the right place at the right time.”

As a result of Bourne’s heroism, he was presented with a Highway Angel Award by TCA.

Since 1997, nearly 1,300 professional truck drivers have been recognized as Highway Angels for the exemplary kindness, courtesy, and courage they have displayed while on the job.

Photo courtesy TCA



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