Driver, passenger narrowly escape truck before it catches fire

Posted at 7:39 PM, May 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-27 20:00:26-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Two men say they narrowly escaped their vehicle before it ignited into flames in downtown Grand Rapids on Saturday evening.

Daniel Graham and Jeremy Lecuru, both 22 years old, say they were driving east over the Fulton St. bridge into downtown when they heard a noise and realized the gas tank had become disconnected from the underbody of their pick-up truck.

"We hit this bump and all of a sudden (the gas tank) started scraping against the concrete," Graham said. "Next thing I know, I look in the rear view mirror and there's big flames following the gas tank."

FOX 17 anchor Christian Frank broadcasts the thick smoke seen over downtown on Facebook Live.

The two said they drove the truck a few hundred yards further before stopping on Market St., near Van Andel Arena, where they said they jumped out just seconds before the entire truck ignited.

"It was right behind our backs, and we jumped out because someone was yelling 'fire,'" Lecuru said. "We had about two seconds."

Graham, who owns the truck, said it was old with more than 200,000 miles on it.

The thick, black smoke could be seen in the sky from areas all over downtown.

Neither men were injured.