Haunted hayride accident spooks students

HUDSON – Alvirne High School students got an unexpected scare on a haunted hayride Thursday evening.

A truck that shuttled students through a trail in the dark woods caught fire. The Bronco-styled truck was pulling a cart that carried Halloween revelers.

No one was injured, but Friday night’s hayride was cancelled, school principal Bryan Lane said Friday.

Students who participated in the event said dozens of teens ran out of the woods frightened by the sight of the burning vehicle. Twenty people were on the cart when the truck ignited, Lane said.

“Everyone was running and screaming,” said senior Amanda Harris, who was part of a group of students who were acting as ghosts and goblins in the woods.

Harris captured the heavy fire at its peak on a handheld video camera. She and others said a male student was driving the truck.

Jane Parkin, director of the Wilbur Palmer Vocational Technical Center at the school, refused to comment Thursday night, and asked firefighters to escort a reporter away from the scene. Parkin said she preferred to keep the incident, which occurred at a public school, a private matter.

But the fire was witnessed by many students who came out for the hayride. Numerous commuters driving on Route 102 saw police and fire trucks parked at the edge of the woods, directly across from the high school.

The transmission of the truck slipped, and its hydraulic line possibly broke and sprayed the engine, which possibly started the fire, fire inspector Joe Triolo said Friday. No hay on the cart was damaged, he said.

Triolo advises any organization hosting a hayride to use horses instead of a mechanized vehicle to pull a cart. “With horses, there’s not too much to worry about a fire there,” he said.

Hope Blanchette, an Alvirne senior, said Thursday she did not want to see Friday night’s hayride cancelled. But Lane said water was on the trail, so the school cancelled the event.