Aid in fire suppression...and other random POE job duties

Inspectors at the Inkom Port of Entry south of Pocatello proved once again the versatility and range of services they provide. Early in the morning of Sept. 12, a truck carrying a new railroad tie and track layer entered the northbound Inkom POE on Interstate 15. Shortly after the truck exited, Port Inspectors on both sides of the highway heard a loud explosion.

Smoke and fire were coming from one of the truck's axles. Inspector trainee Emberly Bertasso, a certified volunteer firefighter, immediately grabbed a fire extinguisher and went to work trying to tame the fire. Inspector trainee Keith Lolofie called the fire department while Inspector Brad Austin joined Emberly.

"As long as we were using the fire extinguishers, the fire would subside," Brad said. "But as soon as we stopped the fire would ignite again."

Eleven fire extinguishers were used before a fire truck responded 40 minutes later. It required more than 30 minutes of a constant water stream from the fire truck to put out the blaze.

"Thanks to the quick response and team work of Keith, Emberly, Brad, Idaho State Police Trooper Taylor Wade and the truck drivers that stopped to offer the use of their extinguishers, the damage to the multi-million dollar piece of equipment was limited to just a small amount of smoke damage," Port of Entry Program Supervisor Nancy Casperson said.

Published 10-05-18