A heroic man sacrificed his life by driving his truck away from traffic before it exploded, killing him instantly.
Randall McDougal, 63, was driving his truck down a popular US highway on March 27 when he noticed his truck brakes were on fire.
Instead of attempting to get himself to safety, the 63-year-old continued driving until he reached a remote part of the road and helped others evacuate the area.
EXPLOSION CLAIMS LIFE OF TRUCK DRIVER: Remains of an individual suspected to be those of Randall McDougal, 63, of El Dorado, have been recovered from the site of an explosion……Read: https://t.co/WOTnxWghPg pic.twitter.com/7mdhhdtwwD
— AR State Police (@ARStatePolice) March 27, 2019
McDougal was driving his commercial carrier truck along US Highway 278, west of Camden, when he first saw his brakes were on fire.
As reported by The Epoch Times, the truck was carrying ammonium nitrate — a deadly explosive compound widely used in fertilizer.
Realising how dangerous the situation was, McDougal called emergency services before he drove his truck to a more remote area where fewer cars were driving past.
— Erika Ferrando THV11 (@ErikaFerrandoTV) March 27, 2019
Shortly after the fire department were dispatched, McDougal’s truck exploded as a result of the ammonium nitrate catching fire.
Camden Fire Department wrote on Facebook:
At 6:38 a.m. Wednesday morning, the Camden Fire Department was dispatched to a tractor-trailer fire on U.S. 278, approximately two miles east of Arkansas 57. The tractor-trailer was carrying ammonium nitrate, a chemical compound mainly used as a fertilizer.
At 7:02 a.m., the ammonium nitrate in the trailer detonated.
Prior to the explosion, KATV reports McDougal helped others get out of harm’s way before he attempted to help himself. The 63-year-old was killed while attempting to put out the fire.
Ouachita Co: U.S. Highway 278 will remain closed until further notice. This morning’s accident left about a 15-foot deep crater in the road. Once the accident has been cleared, our crews will begin to repair the highway. Updates as they are available. #ARnews #ARtraffic #ARleg pic.twitter.com/O6DIXGjPnk
— Arkansas DOT (@myARDOT) March 27, 2019
The explosion was so powerful it tore the tops off trees and created an enormous 15-foot crater in the middle of the highway. People heard the blast from miles away, with the explosion even reportedly registering as seismic activity.
Debris is said to have scattered over ‘the length of several football fields,’ and shattered the windshield of a firetruck and school bus, injuring three Camden firefighters.
Camden Fire Chief Robert Medford told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette:
It looks like a bomb went off. There’s a big hole in the ground on where the truck was at.
The fire department closed the highway after the accident, evacuating people within roughly a one mile radius of the blast.
— Erika Ferrando THV11 (@ErikaFerrandoTV) March 28, 2019
Many people on social media have praised McDougal for sacrificing himself for others in a time of immense danger, calling him a hero – he’s certainly that.
Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Randall at this difficult time.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.
A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).