It was an interesting Sunday night (Jan.23) for tow truck driver Brady Smith.
Smith had finished getting a vehicle out of the ditch and was on his way back into Fort Saskatchewan when he noticed two vehicles parked on the side of Highway 21. What caught his interest was one of the vehicles, an SUV, had a tire missing and was smoking.
"There was just a lot of smoke coming out of the vehicle, from inside and from underneath. I'm a certified first aider and I saw a bunch of people standing away from the vehicle and stuff, so I figured that would stop and see if everybody is okay, see if anybody needs first aid," he explained.
After talking to the woman about what happened, Smith believes her brakes locked up on the front which created the heat. The woman was driving with her two daughters when she noticed something was wrong and was forced to pull over when one of her wheels broke off from the heat.
"The brake caliper, which is the big block that holds on to the disk, I have a feeling that got stuck while it was putting pressure up against the brake rotor. As she was driving down the road, it was creating more thick friction, making it hot. When I showed up there, everything underneath was just glowing red hot."
Smith was told the other vehicle was a passerby that had stopped to help the woman with the smoking SUV. He then used his tow truck lights to let people know to keep their distance when passing and called emergency services for further assistance.
The fire department arrived and they started throwing snow on the vehicle to help cool it down. They used a temperature gun to tell when the SUV had cooled down enough for Smith to tow it away.
"[The wheel] was reading about 300 F and the car itself was reading close to 400-500 F," he said, adding it had been significantly hotter when he'd first arrived.
The vehicle never caught fire, but according to the fire department, the metal rim of the wheel that had fallen off had started to melt.
Luckily, no one was injured and the woman and her daughters were able to get home safely.
"That's one thing that I like to do, it's why I'm a certified first aider and maybe in the profession that I am. I'm out there to help people," Smith said. "I would feel bad if I didn't stop and help out."
He added he stopped by the woman's house later that night to check in on the family and they were doing much better.