A tow truck was found ablaze on the west bank of the Arkansas River on Thursday morning, with a stolen SUV in the water nearby.

First responders headed toward a column of smoke over the levee near the end of West 51st Street before 7 a.m.

The tow truck was fully engulfed in flames, and it appeared that it had been used to try to pull out an SUV that had slid down the river bank, firefighters at the scene said.

Police said the SUV was reported stolen Wednesday and that the owner of the tow truck lived near the scene.

The tow truck owner, Charles Walker, said a man had knocked on his door late Wednesday afternoon and asked for help pulling the SUV from the river bank.

Walker said his tow truck became stuck in the process and that he planned to return to the scene Thursday morning to assess the situation. Instead, he returned to find his truck in flames.

Firefighters extinguished the blaze, and as of 10 a.m. investigators had not determined the cause of the fire.

“I guess that’s what you get when you try to help people,” Walker said, examining the remains of his truck. “Cryin’ shame.”

“Wanna buy a truck?” he quipped to firefighters. “I’ll sell it to you real cheap.”

Walker said his truck was fully insured. Although momentarily discouraged, he said he won’t let the experience stop him from helping others in need. However, if a similar situation arises, he’ll confirm the owner of the vehicle first, he said.

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Kelsy Schlotthauer




Twitter: @K_Schlott

Kelsy graduated with a journalism degree from Oklahoma State University in 2018 and moved to Colorado to cover breaking news before The World called her home in 2019. Follow her on Twitter for real-time reports. Phone: (918) 581-8455

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