The driver of a truck that burned last week on Interstate 77 is back home in Colorado thanks to the generosity of troopers from the N.C. State Highway Patrol.
Ali Jassim had just left a rest area when he noticed smoke coming from his engine. He said he pulled onto the shoulder as soon as he could and got out to see what the problem was.
He saw flames.
“I tried to use my extinguisher, but the fire was already too big,” Jassim told the Record & Landmark in a phone interview.
He then called 911. Firefighters and the highway patrol responded.
After the fire had been extinguished, the troopers who responded realized that Jassim escaped with his life, a pack of cigarettes and cell phone. The rest of Jassim’s possessions, from his social security card to any money had, had burned in the cab of his tractor-trailer.
Without a driver’s license, proof of citizenship or any money, Jassim was stranded in Statesville with no way to get back to his home in Denver.
Troopers Nick Chapman, Isaac Hammer, Anthony McLain, Travis Meadows and Marla Powell, along with highway patrol communications workers, decided to help.
They donated money, and reached out to churches and a local CVS. With the funds gathered, Jassim left North Carolina in a rental car with a phone charger, water and money for gas, food and lodging along the way.
“These are the members of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol,” 1st Sgt. C.R. Jones said. “I have faith that this is the standard of our men and women, and know this is what it means to put this uniform on every day and represent North Carolina. We could not ask for any better ambassadors.”
Jassim said the next steps for him are replacing the identification and items he lost in the blaze.
“The officers helped me a lot. Everyone was so nice,” Jassim said. “Thank you to all the people who helped.”