TA Mill City Employees Save Site
Friday, May 15 was an average day at the TA in Mill City, Nevada. There was a steady flow of drivers and employees were in their everyday routines. Around 3:30 p.m., something changed that – a vehicle flew off the exit ramp and into the desert, immediately catching fire near the site. The Highway Patrol followed the now-burning vehicle, and forced one of the two men fleeing from the car to the ground.
One of the technicians looked out and noticed the fire rapidly approaching the officer. He reached for the fire extinguisher and hurried to aid, stopping the fire before it reached the two men on the ground.
General Manager Sasha Darr was at home when she saw the heavy, black smoke coming from the direction of the site. She called the Store Assistant General Manager and learned the wind was pushing the fire straight toward the TA Truck Service shop. Sasha jumped into her truck and sped to the scene. Once there, she checked on her employees, told the Shop Assistant General Manager to evacuate everyone from the building and, without hesitation, jumped into action, four other employees following her lead.
Each grabbed what they could – shovels, a rake and a snow shovel – and raced out to the fire. Those employees were Sam Gilbreath, Shop PCM, Travis Monroe, technician, Dave Gentry, technician, and Kody Hill, technician. The five formed a line and began to put dirt on the fire. FMT John Menicucci had seen the smoke coming from the site, too. When he arrived, he quickly grabbed a shovel to help.
The fire was hot and smoky, but the six were able to fight it until it was no longer an immediate threat to the building. They weren’t done, though. The wind had shifted, and the fire had started burning toward the road. The team kept at it, working to prevent the fire from jumping the road and spreading toward the employee housing. The Imlay Volunteer Fire Department arrived roughly 15 minutes later. By then, the fire had jumped the road. Luckily, the fire department was able to maintain it from spreading even more into the desert.
Sasha, a volunteer firefighter herself, said, “We were relieved [when the fire department arrived]. These guys [the employees] were a huge help… They didn’t have to do what they did, but it was greatly appreciated and very honorable for the company. I love this team out here; they’re my people!”
When all was said and done, Travis, Dave and Kody clocked in for their night shift.
“I want to recognize these employees. These guys were fantastic!” Sasha wrote in an email to Corporate. And Ed Kirkwood, Regional Vice President of Operations in the Northwest, and Quyntyn Johnson, District Manager, did just that. They both made the trip down to Mill City, Nevada, to personally thank and reward the six employees.
“All TA employees have proven to be heroes during this pandemic by coming to work each day to keep products moving across the country. But like I told this group of Mill City team members, each of them stepped it up a notch and became superheroes. Without any hesitation, they jumped into action and helped saved the site from burning down,” commented Ed. “Getting a first-hand look at the burn marks, you can see the fire could have easily engulfed the whole site if this selfless group didn’t take immediate action. Quyntyn and I wanted to personally look them in the eyes and thank them. We couldn’t shake their hands due to COVID-19 but we gave them a big thank you, elbow bump and a gift card.”