SKOWHEGAN — As if working on Christmas Day wasn’t bad enough for one Skowhegan Highway Department employee.

But having your plow truck go up in flames in the middle of a big snowstorm probably didn’t come with a hearty ho, ho, ho.

That’s what happened at about 11:30 a.m. Monday on Union Street in Skowhegan when the town’s 2015 snow plow suddenly caught fire. No one was injured, but the driver, Corey Johnson, was a bit shaken when the truck burst into flames, Road Commissioner Greg Dore said Tuesday.

“It’s definitely a total loss,” Dore said by phone Tuesday. “The engine compartment and the cab all burnt — the whole front end of the truck burnt. It was in the middle of the storm, so that didn’t help.”

Dore said the town’s insurance will cover the loss, but having one of his nine plow trucks off line until early February could be a problem. He said the fire probably started as a result of a diesel or hydraulic fluid leak, but it was enough to blow out the windshield.

Dore said the plow equipment and dump body on the Ford F550 are fine and will have to be refitted onto another truck. He said the area received about a foot of snow Monday, with the bulk of the blowing and drifting coming just when the truck caught on fire.

“He was a little shook up,” he said of Johnson. “It’s a little scary seeing flames come up through the engine compartment. It’s a diesel truck and it takes a lot to get diesel going. It burns hot.”

Dore said the loss of one truck will set snow plowing back about 90 minutes for each successive storm, but there are no new storms in the immediate forecast.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter:@Doug_Harlow

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