Update: Accident closes portion of Highway 51 - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Update: Accident closes portion of Highway 51

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MERRILL (PRESS RELEASE) - The Merrill Fire Department along with the Lincoln County Sheriff Department responded to an RV fire on Highway 51 in the Town of Merrill, just north of Lincoln Drive.  The Lincoln County Dispatch Center received a cell phone call at 10:33 reporting the fire.  MFD Engine 2 and Medic-1 responded to the scene.  While en route dispatch received additional information of grass in the ditch line starting on fire and an explosion.  Merrill command requested MFD Tanker-5 and the Wisconsin DNR to respond as well.

Upon arrival, Merrill Fire Fighters were faced with a 28' motor home fully engulfed in flames.  The RV had approximately 80 gallons of fuel on it, in addition, to a LP tank.  Crews were able to put the fire out quickly, but the fuel kept re-igniting.  Fire fighters switched to class-B foam to fully extinguish the fire.  A Wisconsin DNR unit took care of the small fire in the ditch.

Lincoln County Sheriff shut down the northbound lane of Highway 51.  They re-routed traffic to Lincoln Drive, but traffic was still backed up to County Road C.  A Merrill fire unit stayed on scene until Rod's Wrecker could remove the motor home.  A Lincoln County Highway Department sweeper was used to help clear debris from the roadway before the highway could be re-opened.

The owner/driver of the 1987 Winnebago was on his way up north to Tomahawk when his great-grandchild could smell smoke.  They pulled off the highway to check it out, finding fire building underneath the vehicle.  Small fire extinguishers were used to put it out, but the fire continued to build in the wall of the RV.  The driver was able to remove his pull-behind car from the motor home before it went completely up in flames.  The RV is a complete loss.  The fire appears to be accidental, but still under investigation.

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LINCOLN COUNTY (WAOW)--Highway 51 was grid-locked for a few hours Friday afternoon, after an accident closed down the northbound lanes.

The Department of Transportation reports that a vehicle and grass fire closed the highway at Lincoln Drive. The accident happened just before 11:00 a.m. Friday.

Newsline 9 has a crew on the scene.

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