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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Manual transmissions nearly grinding to a halt (on pickup trucks)
Article thanks to Tom Quimby and Links provided:

It’s no secret that manual transmissions are hard to find on new pickups, but some new trucks are still available with a stick shift if you know where to look.
Starting with model year 2016, Ford – which sells more trucks than any other OEM – no longer offers a manual transmission on any of its trucks.
“There’s been quite a shift to automatics over manuals,” says Mike Levine, Ford truck communications manager. “They’re both more fuel efficient and easier to drive now than ever.”
For those drivers who still favor shifting, Ford offers a manual mode transmission feature on its F-650 and F-750. A button marked plus and minus on the stick allows for shifting. There’s no clutch to use, though. So, it’s more of a semi-manual or semi-automatic, whichever you prefer.
“We did offer a Cummins diesel with a manual transmission,” Levine says of the pre-2016 F-650 and F-750. “Now, we offer the 6.7-liter Ford Power Stroke and it only comes with an automatic transmission.”
On the other side of Detroit, General Motors will still sell you a manual transmission, but only in the mid-size Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon.
“At one time manual transmissions delivered better fuel economy. They were less expensive to buy. And a lot of drivers were familiar with a manual transmission,” says GM’s Truck Product Manager Dan Tigges. “But over time, it seems like those reasons have gone away.”
“Automatic transmissions have gotten much more sophisticated. We’ve gone from four speeds to six speeds and now we’ve got 10 speeds coming. And they have just gained tremendously in fuel economy.”
Ram offers more manual transmissions than any OEM as long as you opt for a Cummins diesel engine, starting with the Ram 2500.
“There are still a number of customers who very much enjoy the ability to control the transmission manually. Whether it be for gear selection on hills, or downshifting or compression braking,” says Nick Cappa, Ram product media relations manager.
“The fact that we are the only ones that offer it gives us some exclusivity. That helps us reach out to those customers who expect to have that in their truck as we are the only ones who can get it. It’s very nice to have.”
A hydraulic feature allows for automatic clutch adjustment on Ram’s manual transmission. However, clutch wear can be accelerated depending on driver skill and application.
Toyota offers a manual transmission in their mid-size Tacoma, but you won’t find it in the Tundra.
Nissan’s mid-size Frontier can be paired with a manual. In fact, the Frontier S and SV 4×2 models equipped with an I4 engine come standard with a 5-speed manual transmission. A 6-speed manual is available for Frontier models with a V6. However, you won’t find a manual transmission on Titan XD.
Manual vs. Auto — Is that fight still relevant?
It’s a no-brainer that automatic transmissions are a lot more popular than their manual counterparts.
In an age when cell phones outnumber people in the U.S. and trucks come with more cup-holders than seat belts, most drivers on the road prefer having a free-hand to grab something besides a stick-shift.
Some contend that automatics are safer because it’s one less thing that a driver has to handle while juggling a cell phone and a cup of coffee. There’s also no worrying about engaging an automatic transmission when stopped on a hill.
Another knock against manual transmissions is that there are a lot less drivers who know how to use them. And it’s not just with fleets.
Would-be carjackers continue to make headlines as they attempt to steal vehicles that they can’t drive. So many car thieves have been foiled by manual transmissions that The Huffington Post wrote an editorial suggesting that a stick-shift could be your best defense against carjackers.
Thieves aren’t the only ones who struggle with jamming gears.
“If I pull up to a valet in my truck and tell them it’s a manual they say, ‘Oh,'” says Cappa who drives a 2003 Ram 2500 equipped with a six-speed manual transmission. “And then they have to go get the only guy who can drive manuals. It’s pretty interesting how it’s just fading away. It’s a lost talent.”
While anecdotal evidence reveals that manual and automatic transmissions can impact car theft and car safety, insurance actuaries are not quite convinced. State Farm told Hard Working Trucks that while there are a number of factors that influence insurance rates, transmissions are not among them.
The Insurance Information Institute reports that no data exists regarding safety and theft deterrence relative to transmissions.
“Data for car thefts and car accidents are not broken down by transmission type. In fact, when someone is shopping around for insurance, they are not even asked if the car has a manual transmission,” says Lynne McChristian, Florida representative for the Insurance Information Institute.
“And, it’s an urban myth that cars and trucks with manual transmissions are less likely to be stolen. Professional thieves know how to drive anything.”
McChristian references an article posted on Fox News in which a Michigan State Police detective states that manual transmissions are actually easier to steal.
“If I saw a car in a parking lot and there’s nothing in front of it, I’d simply put it in neutral and push it away,” Sgt. Don Lusk, a veteran detective with the auto theft squad in Detroit, explains in the article.
Pushing a stolen vehicle in neutral does not exactly make for a fast getaway. Assuming Lusk would push it to a nearby flat-bed hauler, a tow truck or a vehicle with a tow strap, it still does not make for a quick, easy theft. Also, since there’s no exhaustive data regarding theft based on transmission type–only anecdotal evidence–there’s no statistics available indicating if vehicles equipped with manual transmissions are less likely to be stolen or not.
It used to be that stick shifts were cheaper than automatics and got better gas mileage. However, technology has made automatics just as good and even better in some cases when it comes to MPG. Also, given the law of supply and demand, a manual can now increase the sticker price since it’s largely fallen out of favor with consumers.
“Because every other manufacturer is selling automatic transmissions, their price has come down,” Tigges says. “Manuals don’t enjoy any kind of price advantage anymore. From a cost standpoint, some times, manual transmissions are even more expensive than an automatic. Some of those historic reasons have gone away.”
The manual transmission has fallen so out of favor that even on the select models where it is offered, it isn’t very popular.
“They really have not been a big seller, especially on the commercial side of the business,” Tigges says. “With commercial customers, companies so often have drivers rotating through a truck and so many people these days don’t know how to drive a manual like they did years ago. So it just avoids a lot of problems to have an automatic.”
With GM scaling back on manuals and Ford stopping them all together, that could be an indicator of where the market is heading, but Cappa argues there is still a segment of drivers who want a manual transmission.
Since a manual offers a driver more control over a truck, that can come in handy with some jobs. For instance, Cappa has relatives who own an excavation company and they prefer working with trucks that have manual transmissions.
“They like the crawl gear,” he said. “They like to be able to control the transmission themselves. It’s a personal preference on the part of the driver.”
Personal preference for a manual is not all nostalgia. It can be a vital link between driver and truck where the driver gains more control and more confidence as they take on big jobs.
“They can put the truck into gear and, with as much torque as the Cummins has, it just idles and they just lock it in. There’s no need to hit the accelerator at all,” Cappa adds. “They can just pay attention to what they’re doing and the truck can torque at idle probably all the way until second gear. Definitely into second gear and maybe into third.”
“You don’t have to apply any acceleration. They can actually just get the truck to idle and select a speed that way. Whereas with the automatic transmission, it’s going to require some input. In some situations, that’s a necessity.”
Okay, so manual transmissions still have a role to play in vocational trucks. Just keep in mind that if you opt for a Ram truck with a manual transmission you will have to sacrifice power.
“It’s interesting though. That’s only something that’s happened over the last 10 years or so, because there was a time when the manual transmission had the high output engine,” Cappa says. “But now because automatic transmissions are so much stronger, so much more durable, we can go up to 900 pound feet on the automatic.”

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Time for tech to improve CBs
Good article thanks to Tom Quimby and Links provided:
Feb, 2016  I read a telling article this past week in our sister publication, Truckers News, about how a trucker failed to get a response on his CB after attempting to alert other drivers about a bad accident in Erie, Pennsylvania.
Try as he might, the trucker kept broadcasting about the pile-up, but never got the slightest 10-4 in return.

The trucker reports on YouTube that he learned later that the accident on I-90 had gotten much worse as more cars and trucks kept ramming into each other. What started out, he says, as a 10 to 15-car pile-up worked its way up to 85 vehicles, including 12 trucks.
“It’s very disheartening. I did everything I could to warn those guys that they were coming up on a wreck,” the man says in the 5-minute video. “I yelled on the CB, yelled on the CB, yelled on the CB trying to get people to answer me. Thirty-two miles…no answers…no answers.”
The trucker believes that it’s important to stay connected through CBs, especially during winter.
“I get that a CB is a pain in the butt, and the noise bothers you. I get that. I don’t blame them a bit for that. But in the winter time, run the CB. At least that way you know what’s going on. You could save a life.”
He may be right.
There was a time when CB radios were a vast part of American culture. Before I was 10 years old, I was introduced to a Cobra 29 in southern California. I was infatuated with it and went on to get different sets, coax and antennas.
God knows I’ve carted around my collection for years and have no plans on downsizing. Stuff ranges in size from a Motorola transistor all the way to a cumbersome Antron 99. Though I haven’t keyed up in years, it’s hard to part with any of it.
Long before cell phones and social media were all the rage, my friends and I would stay in touch with CBs. As I got older, my wife and I would use them on trips to keep tabs on traffic. We’ve used them during boating trips, and they can also come in handy when living in hurricane country and other modes of communication are knocked out.
But CBs haven’t evolved much, at least to the point where they can overcome one of the biggest complaints out there—blabber mouths.
Having 40 channels and single-side band offers some help in avoiding mic hogs that broadcast nothing but nonsense. Keying up on a loud mouth is another way to tone things down. Still, none of that has been enough to attract new users or even keep old ones hanging on.
And it’s not like people are shying away from mass communication. Quite the contrary. Online social media websites have popped up like mushrooms, and people are eager to use them for a variety of reasons. The difference, of course, is that it takes little effort in either reading or ignoring a message on Facebook compared to dealing with Alligator Mouth on channel 19.
Mass communication has changed virtually everywhere, save for the CB. And it’s a way past time for a change. Since you can’t expect every user to exercise good judgement, it’s time for technology to come around to make things a little bit easier on everyone’s ears.
If you can unfriend someone on Facebook, then you should be able to do the same on a CB. Maybe this could be done through voiceprint data analysis or a unique signal given off by a high-tech CB. Either way, the user should be able to block an annoying hailer without giving up a channel or shutting off the CB altogether.
Of course, guys running barefoot may still have an advantage by simply and silently keying up with gobs of power that pegs the needle so far to the right that they end just about every conversation below nine pounds.
Some may also have privacy concerns over a unique, identifying signal being emitted from a CB while the user chats away. While I understand that, cell phones operate on that principle, and because of that, those revered devices allow us to use call blocking, if we so choose.
Obviously, there’s still a need for devices that allow for instantaneous, mass, two-way audio communication. That large accident in Erie makes that perfectly clear. And since CB etiquette doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of improvement, it’s way past time for technology to step up and blow off the dust on these decades-old devices.
- See more at:

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The importance of RV tire maintenance
Article thanks to Howard Jaros and Links provided:

In Part 1 of this series, I talked about the importance of setting the correct cold tire pressure based on the loaded weight of an RV. I also discussed inspecting the RV's tires before each trip and when is the best time to replace those tires.
In Part 2, I would like to address tire pressure monitoring systems, what to do with RV tires that are stored or sit static for months during full-time RV living, DOT codes on tires and a little more discussion on when to replace RV tires.

Tire pressure monitor systems

More and more RVs and cars now come with tire pressure monitor systems installed. They are mounted inside the rim where the tire valve stem is located. These sensors feed current tire pressure readings to an inside source where the vehicle driver can monitor these values. Not only do they give current tire pressure readings, but some also give internal temperature readings.
These devices allow the driver to know when preset values increase above a percentage of what is normal. The sensors will also indicate a loss of pressure, whether sudden or slow, that might create a serious issue while traveling.
If you RV does not have this kind of system installed, you can add an external tire pressure monitoring system that will assist you in driving with an increased level of comfort.
Pam and I have used these devices for years and have been alerted to serious issues that allowed us to pull off the road before significant damage was done to the RV. When pulling a trailer or fifth-wheel RV, or when towing a car or trailer behind a motorized RV, these devices are especially important because sometimes you can't tell when a problem may be occurring.

I travel with added peace of mind with a tire pressure monitor system installed.

(Ed. Note: here’s a link to a previous post I

While traveling with our big fifth wheel with dual tandems and the big Freightliner truck, I would not even notice the loss of one if its eight tires in the dark.
The truck would not care. It would just keep on trucking along! Have you ever had a semi-truck pass you on the highway and you noticed one of its tires is shredded or missing? They don't realize it either.
While traveling I-75 in Florida one hot August day, with the outside temperature recording 97 degrees, we had a catastrophic failure of one of our tires on the rear axle of the street side outside tire. In this case, we heard it because it sounded like a shotgun. Before the blowout, the tire pressure indicators showed a normal increase in tire pressure as expected for the hot day we were traveling.
The sensors immediately set off an alarm to which we responded by pulling off the highway. When we first heard the noise, we did not know what it was. But when the tire pressure monitor system alarm sounded, I knew a tire had failed.
Because we were notified quickly, I was able to get off the road and minimize the damage to the RV, which luckily there was little. That was because I did not continue to drive on a damaged tire that would have continued to deteriorate even further, unravel and beat up the underside of the RV.
While holding some seminars at Lazydays RV Rally Park last year, I was able to overhear another seminar with an RV manufacturer talking about the cost a rear tire failure on a Class A RV. He stated that the average cost to repair the damage by a tire that fails at highway speeds averages about $52,000. Wow!
How can an externally installed tire pressure monitoring system help you? By allowing you to address slow increases or decreases in tire pressure, out-of-range temperature readings of the tires, and even the sudden loss of tire pressure if the driver is unable to sense the change.
If your RV does not have this sort of system installed as a factory option, it is well worth the investment to have them placed on every tire valve stem involved in your RV setup. They simply screw onto the threads where the valve cap is located. If a Class A RV has six tires and pulls a car behind, it can be equipped with 10 sensors for the RV and the tow vehicle. The same can be said for trucks and towable units.
Anyone who travels in an RV should have tire pressure monitors installed. Prices start at a few hundred dollars and go up from there depending on the unit you choose and the number of sensors you require.
In the past few years, the systems have improved even more. I like that they now offer lighter-weight sensors and you can change the sensor batteries yourself instead of sealed units you have to send back to the manufacturer to replace.

RV tires that sit for months without being moved

RV tires that sit for long periods of time have more of a challenge than those that are driven more often. Such a case might be when an RV is used only a few weeks out of the year and stored the rest, or for full-time RVers who live in the RV but do not move it much because they stay in one area.
What RV owners may not know is tires age in a different manner when they are not driven — they actually may age faster. Without the tire being able to rotate, heat up and flex fully under load, the tire is not given the chance for the protective agents in the tire to be able to do their job.
If an RV is being stored, more thought needs to be given to the needs of the tires. The recommendations from the major tire manufacturers are to store the RV in a cool, dry and weather-protected unit. The best place to set the RV tires is on a smooth nonpetroleum-based surface with a barrier between the tire and its parking surface.
Most people forget to think about reducing the load in the RV while it is placed in storage. For those that are living full-time in their RV, they may be able to use the leveling system to not only level the RV but to take some of the load off their tires.
What are some other things an RV owner can do to protect their tires, whether for a full-timer or not? It is best to keep the RV tires clean by using a mild soap and water. Also, if they are going to be exposed to sunlight and ultraviolet rays, keep them covered. If possible, it is also a good idea to keep them out of a high-ozone area. (I will discuss the application of tire dressings in Part 3 of this series.)
And of course, the tires should always be inflated to the recommended pressure indicated by the RV manufacturer. But please keep in mind the best thing you can do for your tires is to use them.

The expected life of an RV tire

The various materials and rubber compounds that make up an RV tire are there to be sure the tire functions as it should. How long the tire will last certainly depends on many factors. These can be factors of how the tire is used during its life, how it is stored and maintained, and the weather conditions the tire has endured.
How can you know how old your tires are and if they should just be replaced? The Department of Transportation code placed on all tires is there to help you know the date that the tire was manufactured. It is stamped on one side of the tire. You have a 50 percent chance of being able to spot it on your tires. Some RV manufacturers like to mount the tires so the DOT codes are facing inward to protect them from being scuffed off when tires are scrubbed against curbs and other roadway hazards.

This four-digit date of birth code for late-model tires tells you the week and year a tire was made. If the date code shows 3909, that means the tire was made in the 39th week of 2009. How is this information helpful to you?
As of late, the major tire manufacturers and the National Transportation and Safety Board have stated that tires should be replaced after six years. Michelin states tires that are 10 years old are recommended for replacement, and that includes spare tires as well. I have seen recent updates stating tires should be checked by a certified tire specialist each year after the five-year mark.
Certainly, it is better to err on the side of caution than to try and save money by not replacing the tires when age is in question. Of course, if the tires start to show age-related cracks and gouges at any age, replacement should be considered. Cracks in the tire sidewalls that are between 1/32 and 2/32 inches should be examined by a tire specialist at a tire dealer.
As Michelin once stated, "So much is riding on your tires." Why would you want to take a chance? When it comes to the stresses an RV places on its tires, it is imperative not to take their maintenance seriously.
If the recommended age limit has been reached or the tires appear to be deteriorating beyond normal, replace them for the safety of all involved — not only for those traveling with the RV but also for the other drivers on the road who may be put in harm's way when an RV tire fails.
Check out Part 3 of this series where I will address tire dressings, possible causes of abnormal tire wear and selecting replacement tires for your RV. Until then, Pam and I wish you blessed travels in your RV. We hope you are lucky enough to be out on the road this time of year!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

The Best Things About Being a Trucker
The following survey provided by and thanks to the RoadPro Family of Brands. Links provided:
Most jobs come with a salary and benefits, like so many weeks of vacation, health insurance, holidays and other perks.
That’s how we judge jobs, by what they give us in exchange for our time and labor. But, sometimes, it’s the intangibles, the experiences that can’t be found elsewhere, that really make the job. That’s the case with trucking.    
Long-haul trucking is unlike any other job in the world and it comes with its own set of perks. We surveyed truckers what they like about life on the go and their answers were loud and clear. Here’s what they told us are the highlights of life on the road:
Freedom — Far and away the most popular answer to our survey. But are truckers really free? It depends on their jobs, of course, but most drivers have deadlines to meet, rules to follow and bosses to satisfy, same as office workers.
But office workers can’t steer their cubicles out of the building and out on the highway to be alone with their thoughts, the way truckers can. And, yes, truckers are on the clock, but they’re not lashed to it the way 9-to-5ers are.  
And, for truckers, sometimes it’s not what they’re free to do, but the oppressive things they’re free of that matter most, things like office dress codes, three-hour PowerPoint presentations and staring at a computer all day.
Views — There are people who save up two weeks of vacation a year just to drive through the Colorado Rockies or along California’s Highway 1, something truckers get paid to do. It’s a big, beautiful country and truckers get to see more of it than most — even if the view is through a windshield.    
Sunsets — You don’t have to be in a scenic part of the country to enjoy a beautiful sunset. Even truckers headed east at the end of the day can check it in their mirrors.
Adventure — An exciting day in the office is when someone brings in doughnuts or the copier breaks. Compared to that sort of routine, truckers lead thrilling lives, whether it’s steering a rig through an alley in NYC or rolling down a 6% grade.
Solitude — No one in the cubicle next to you wanting to share cat videos. No one trying to sell you popcorn to send their kid to band camp. No one humming along to the Muzak. No Muzak, for that matter. Just a driver and the road.
The survey elicited a few other responses, as well, including “meeting people” and “truck stop food,” but there’s no doubt that, for truckers, freedom is the main reason they keep climbing behind the wheel.  

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Automated trash trucks get rough start in Florida

After distributing 400,000 refuse carts for its new
automated waste trucks, Florida’s Orange County
Solid Waste Division continues to struggle with its
new system.
Article thanks to Tom Quimby and Links provided:
Jan, 2016  New automated trash trucks in south Florida got off to a rough start with reports of long delays and a lamppost being uprooted by a truck’s mechanical arm.
Some residents in unincorporated Orange County near Orlando have waited up to four days for the new trucks to pick up the garbage and recyclables, reports.
To help alleviate delays, Orange County’s Solid Waste Division put rental trucks to work on routes this week. The county expects to be caught up with trash pick-ups by the end of the month.
The county says the delays are mostly owed to residents who are not accustomed to properly positioning their new carts for pick-up by the trucks’ automated, hydraulic lift.
However, reports that drivers also appear to be having some challenges too. Video posted on shows a truck’s hydraulic arm uprooting a lamppost.
The county distributed 400,000 carts in preparation for its new automated trash service, which began Jan. 1. Each resident was given two carts: one for recyclables, such as aluminum and plastic, and the other for common household garbage.
Orange County informed residents that each 95-gallon cart has to have a three-foot buffer for the truck’s mechanical arm. The handles on the carts must also face the house when left on the curb for pick-up.
- See more at:

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Ford Testing Self-Driving Cars in Snow

Photo courtesy of Ford
Article thanks to Links provided:
Jan, 2016  Ford is conducting autonomous vehicle tests in snow-­covered environments — another step in the company’s plan to bring self-driving vehicles to millions of customers worldwide, the automaker said.
“It’s one thing for a car to drive itself in perfect weather,” said Jim McBride, Ford technical leader for autonomous vehicles. “It’s quite another to do so when the car’s sensors can’t see the road because it’s covered in snow. Weather isn’t perfect, and that’s why we’re testing autonomous vehicles in wintry conditions — for the roughly 70 percent of U.S. residents who live in snowy regions.”
Ford’s winter-weather testing takes place in Michigan, including at Mcity — a 32-­acre, simulated urban environment at the University of Michigan.
Fully autonomous driving can’t rely on GPS, which is accurate only to several yards — not enough to localize or identify the position of the vehicle. And it’s key that an autonomous vehicle knows its precise location, not just within a city or on a road, but in its actual driving lane. A variation of a few inches makes a big difference.
LiDAR, on the other hand, is much more accurate than GPS – identifying the Fusion Hybrid’s lane location right down to the centimeter, according to Ford. LiDAR emits short pulses of laser light to precisely allow the vehicle to create a real­time, high­definition 3D image of what’s around it.
In ideal weather, LiDAR is the most efficient means of gathering important information and metadata — underlying information about the data itself — from the surrounding environment. LiDAR can sense nearby objects and use cues to determine the best driving path. But on snow­covered roads or in high­-density traffic, LiDAR and other sensors such as cameras can’t see the road. This is also the case when the sensor lens is covered by snow, grime or debris.
Together, Ford and University of Michigan technologists began developing a solution that would allow an autonomous vehicle to see on a snow­-covered road. To navigate snowy roads, Ford autonomous vehicles are equipped with high­-resolution 3D maps. The maps are complete with information about the road and what’s above it, including road markings, signs, geography, landmarks and topography.
“Maps developed by other companies don’t always work in snow­-covered landscapes,” said Ryan Eustice, associate professor at University of Michigan’s college of engineering. “The maps we created with Ford contain useful information about the 3D environment around the car, allowing the vehicle to localize even with a blanket of snow covering the ground.”
An autonomous vehicle creates the maps while driving the test environment in favorable weather, with technologies automatically annotating features such as traffic signs, trees and buildings. When the car can’t see the ground, the vehicle detects above­-ground landmarks to pinpoint itself on the map, and then subsequently uses the map to drive successfully in inclement conditions.
“The vehicle’s normal safety systems, like electronic stability control and traction control, which often are used on slippery winter roads, work in unison with the autonomous driving software,” McBride explained. “We eventually want our autonomous vehicles to detect deteriorating conditions, decide whether it’s safe to keep driving, and if so, for how long.”
Winter driving still presents a host of challenges, but Ford considers this testing an important achievement on the road to autonomous driving. That road goes back roughly a decade to the first­-generation autonomous vehicle from Ford — a LiDAR­-equipped F­250 Super Duty.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Woman, 19, saves father pinned under truck while garage burns

Nineteen-year-old Charlotte Heffelmire, shown here to the
left of her father, is credited for saving her dad’s life after
she lifted this GMC truck off of him during a botched repair
job that set the family’s Virginia home on fire.
Article thanks to Tom Quimby and Links provided:
Jan, 2016  A Virginia man was saved by his 19-year-old daughter after she lifted his pickup off of him during a repair job that proved so dangerous that it even set fire to the family’s home.
Eric Heffelmire had been working underneath his GMC pickup when the truck suddenly slipped off the jack stand and pinned him to the floor.
“The minute the jack slipped, there was an almost instantaneous, real strong smell of gasoline, and then just, whoosh!” he tells
While the fire grew, Charlotte Heffelmire, a student at the U.S. Air Force Academy, rushed into the garage from the family’s home. Seeing her dad pinned under the truck, the former high school pole vaulter attempted to lift it but failed. However, her second attempt proved successful.
“I felt the weight shift, and I said, ‘You almost got it,’ and then it was just UGHHHHHHRRR, and suddenly I’m pulled out,” Eric Heffelmire says.
After freeing her father, Heffelmire reentered the garage and backed out the truck on its three wheels to spare it from the flames. She then grabbed a hose and began dousing the family’s house with water while waiting on the fire department. Propane tanks inside the garage also caught fire.
Emergency officials, who were notified by Charlotte Heffelmire’s 911 call, credit her for also getting her grandmother and three-year-old niece out of the house as the attached garage burned.
Heffelmire, who stands 5-foot 6-inches talls and weighs 120 pounds, injured her back and burned her feet and hands during the rescue last November. She was barefoot at the time. She says her injuries have kept her from returning to the Air Force Academy and that her future military career is dubious.
“If I can’t do any of the military branches, then probably just intelligence or government work,” she says. “Right now I’m just healing up and making sure the family is OK.”
This past week, the Fairfax County fire department and former Virginia State Representative Jim Moran presented Charlotte Heffelmire with a Citizen Lifesaving Award.
Eric Heffelmire is fortunate. Last Friday, a man in southern Illinois was killed after a truck he was working on slipped off a jack stand and crushed him.
The Belleville News-Democrat reports that 50-year-old David Martin had been working on the truck after hours in an Okawville repair shop. His father-in-law, who owns the shop and was concerned that Martin was not answering his cellphone, entered the garage that night and discovered his body.
- See more at: