OAKHURST — At 3:20 p.m. this afternoon, as many families were readying their children for a big night out trick or treating, witnesses were understandably horrified to see a vehicle traveling on Highway 49 toward Oakhurst with flames coming out from under the car.
The driver of the small passenger vehicle was apparently initially unaware of the problem and continued to operate the car, until finally pulling over near True Value, where the occupant of the automobile made a hasty exit.
Fortunately, a fire crew from Mt. Bullion was returning to camp from a work project in Madera and came upon the fire. They used multiple fire extinguishers in an attempt to put out the fire, according to Battalion Chief Troy Cheek. Four engines were at first called to the scene, with all ultimately canceled except Engine 12 out of Oakhurst, while both lanes of traffic were blocked.
Firefighters were able to contain the fire to the vehicle, and it was knocked out by approximately 3:35 p.m. Fortunately, this fire occurred following the recent rains, or it’s possible the firefighters would be chasing a vegetation fire instead of mopping up, according to Battalion Chief Cheek.
The entire engine compartment of the vehicle was burned out, and no injuries were reported.
CHP provided one-way traffic control with assistance from the Madera County Sheriff’s Office. Traffic was backed up for at least a mile in either direction.
By 4 p.m. traffic was beginning to move again and a tow truck was headed to transport the vehicle.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.