Car burns at Ireland gas pumps

From Local Sources

IRELAND — Fire destroyed an automobile Friday afternoon at the Spud’s fueling station pumps at 4953 W. State Road 56.

Ashley Harris, 20, Otwell, had just filled the tank of her 2014 Ford Focus when fire was reported at 5:13 p.m., according to Ireland Volunteer Fire Department Fire Chief Stan Seifert.

Seifert said Harris was in the process of moving to Indianapolis and had her car loaded. She finished fueling, replaced the pump nozzle and had left to pay when surveillance footage caught what looked like a flash in the rear driver’s-side interior of the car.

Realizing there was a fire, Harris was able to retrieve her purse and cages containing a pet cat and a pet rabbit, according to Seifert.

The car was engulfed under the fueling canopy when firefighters arrived.

“It just took off like a rocket,” Seifert said.

The cause of the fire is still being investigated. After Seifert talked with Harris on Saturday, he indicated one possibility might be a problem involving a device that had a lithium battery.

Once the fire department achieved an initial knockdown, a chain was hooked to the car and it was pulled from under the canopy to the east side of the building.

Escaping gas continued to ignite until a wrecker raised the car to give firefighters better access to the undercarriage.

The fire destroyed one gas pump, melted covers on another and blackened the fueling station canopy, according to Seifert. Technicians got four of the station’s six pumps working Friday night.

Also beneficial to the response was an emergency shutoff button at the station. Seifert said someone hit the shutoff button, which shut down all the electricity going to the pumps and canopy.

State Road 56 was blocked at the scene for the 90 minutes the fire department was at the scene. Three trucks and 17 firefighters responded.

There were no injuries.

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