By Brandi Makuski
One man was sent to the hospital Saturday night following a single-vehicle accident that burst into flames on south Water Street.
When crews arrived on Oct. 1, they observed a light pole wrapped around a white pickup truck, which had crashed into a tree on the southwest side of Water St. just past Sherman Ave. in Whiting. Plover Fire Chief Mark Deaver said the 911 call was received at about 8:30 PM.
“When we arrived the vehicle was fully engulfed in flames, which started the tree on fire,” Deaver said.
Emergency crews closed both southbound lanes of traffic between Polk St. and The Wellness Spa for about two hours while firefighters from Plover extinguished the blaze and deputies secured the scene.
The driver — identified only as a male — was found about a block away from the scene in front of the Whiting Village Hall. The man was transported to the hospital by ambulance with non-life-threatening injuries, Deaver said.
According to Deaver, the truck was traveling south at a “very high rate of speed” when it struck a light pole — taking down the pole and pulling its concrete anchor from the ground — before hitting the tree. Firefighters had to remove the pole using an extrication saw before it could be towed.
“To pull the pole right out of the ground, that’s unreal,” Deaver said. “I don’t know how he walked away.”
Deaver also said the casing for the streetlight itself fell to the street, leaving shattered glass on the roadway. The accident caused streetlights on Water St. just south of Sherman Ave. to go dark for several hours.
Along with Plover fire crews, the Portage Co. Sheriff’s Office, Portage Co. EMS, area first responders, Wisconsin Public Service and Johnson Towing all responded to the scene.
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