FIX: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the vehicle was a Zamboni. The story has been corrected to reflect that it was an Olympia branded ice resurfacer.
A resurfacer became the hottest thing on ice on an ice rink in New York state on Wednesday when the machine caught fire in front of dozens of horrified parents and children.
The incident occurred Wednesday night before a youth hockey practice session at Bill Gray’s Regional Iceplex in Brighton, NY. According to reports, the driver was not injured and no others were injured.
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Videos recorded by viewers show that the ice resurfacer leaked red liquid as soon as it rolled onto the ice. Smoke rose from the vehicle as it crossed the ice in the middle on the first lap. Then fire broke out underneath and quickly spread to the machine next to the driver’s seat within seconds.
The driver remained calm despite the flames that blazed beside him. He drove around the ice rink on his half-lap – past dozens of parents and children – before returning to the vehicle bay to put out the fire.
The parents could be heard gasping as the driver passed them in the burning vehicle.
Junior hockey scout Russ Bitley tweeted a photo and video of the ice resurfacer as he passed the crowd of onlookers while it was in flames.
“Only 2020 is 2020,” he said wrote.
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Prusak’s tweet included a clip from a livestream camera at the ice rink that showed the moment the resurfacer caught fire.
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The livestream footage shows the driver finishing his lap and returning to the bay in 30 seconds.
A hose broke on the vehicle and leaked hydraulic fluid onto the ice and the engine to start the fire, the arena management informed the local broadcaster WHAM-TV.
WFLA reports that the driver stayed in the vehicle and brought it back to the bay to avoid a possible propane tank explosion near the onlookers.
According to Lt. Ryan Fleming of the Rochester Fire Department had the driver put out the flames when the firefighters arrived.
“When we got there, we helped him get the Zamboni outside and made sure the fire was completely out,” Fleming told the Democrat and Chronicle.
Much like Kleenex and handkerchiefs, the Zamboni brand has become an unofficial nickname for all ice cream resurfacers. However, the company pointed out Thursday that the burning vehicle was a brand owned by Olympia.
“The burning machine in the video was not made by the Zamboni Company,” a spokesman told Global News.
The dramatic but harmless incident sparked a string of jokes on Twitter that many compared to the story of David Ayres.
Ayres, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Zamboni driver, was known as an emergency goalkeeper for the visiting Carolina Hurricanes last year and helped beat his hometown team.
“Not the first time that a Zamboni driver has been on the ice this year,” said another joked.
Others hailed the unknown driver for his commitment to the job.
“A true captain of his ship,” The Morning Skate Podcast tweeted.
“The Zamboni driver doesn’t let a little (fire) stop him from doing his job,” said another user added.
NOTE: This story has been corrected to take into account that the burning vehicle was not a product of the Zamboni Company.
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