Crews contain Highway 101 fire started by fatal accident

Firefighters corralled a wildfire sparked during a fatal crash on Highway 101 Tuesday afternoon at 168 acres.

The Pistol River Fire 9 miles south of Gold Beach along Highway 101 was contained at 8 a.m. Wednesday, a daily fire news update from the Oregon Department of Forestry said.

The blaze started at about 1:45 p.m. Tuesday when a Freightliner truck pulling two large trailers careened off the road and caught fire after a car drifted into its lane.

A 2009 Toyota Scion driven north by Vincent Jaramillo, 33, of Brookings, drifted into the oncoming traffic lane for an unknown reason, Oregon State Police reported.

Jaramillo was killed and the truck driver, Allen Hart, 61, suffered minor injuries as his rig broke through the guardrail and tipped onto its side.

Coos Forest Protective Association sent two helicopters, a lead plane, four fire engines, two bulldozers and one water tender for the fire. A large structural firefighting force that included fire departments from Gold Beach, Pistol, Ophir, and Cape Ferrello was also on scene to protect buildings threatened by the fire.

On Wednesday, two inmate crews joined Coos Forest Protective Association firefighters, engines and a water tanker truck at the site.

The fire burned through brush and trees on both sides of the highway, driven by strong coastal winds. The highway was closed for several hours, then one lane opened with a pilot car guiding drivers past the scene. All lanes reopened at 3:30 a.m. Wednesday.

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