What could have been a serious incident on a New Bedford street this morning was immediately brought under control by a quick-thinking driver for ABC Disposal.

Nathan Pacheco was out on his solo route, picking up residential trash along Pierce Street just after 8 a.m. After dumping some barrels, he noticed something was amiss.

“I hopped back into the truck and I saw smoke coming from under the dashboard, and I knew there was a small electrical fire,” Pacheco said. “I hopped out again, killed the master switch to cut all the electricity, put out the fire, and then waited for the mechanics to come by.”

His quick reaction, as seen in the video captured by a nearby resident, likely saved the situation from turning into something disastrous. Immediately after turning off the master switch, he jumped back into the cab of the truck with a fire extinguisher and put out the fire before it could grow any bigger.

“In that area, there were houses everywhere, cars everywhere,” he said. “I knew I had to get that fire out immediately, so I worked with what I could.”

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Pacheco also knew that while his truck was disabled, he was blocking almost the entirety of Pierce Street, so he got out to direct traffic.

“I set up my road triangles so people knew the truck was not in operating order, because it’s a one-way street going up, and then I started trying to get people by the best I could, because it’s a narrow street,” he said.

A neighbor pointed out that one of the drivers Pacheco directed through the scene was a health care worker on her way into work.

Pacheco, who lives in New Bedford himself, said he has been a driver for ABC Disposal for about three and a half years, and that this is the first time he’s ever encountered anything like this. Thankfully, he wasn’t off the road for too long and was able to quickly get back to his route.

“The truck is already repaired,” he said. “They had me back on the road in about an hour or so.”

While the quick work of the mechanics is commendable, so is the quick thinking of Pacheco.

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