A car fire at the Spuds Food Mart closed down State Road 56 Friday evening around 5:10 p.m.
According to Ireland Volunteer Fire Department Chief Stan Seifert, 20-year-old Ashley Harris of Pike County had stopped to fill up her 2014 Ford Focus before driving back up to Indianapolis.
After filling up the car, she went into the convenience store to pay. When she returned to the car, she noticed the interior of the car was smoky. She then saw a flash in the back of the car and realized it was on fire.
Harris was able to rescue a pet rabbit and cat, however, everything else she had packed in the car was destroyed. According to Seifert, she was packed up to move to Indianapolis.
During the suppression action, firefighters ran into trouble with the fire restarting underneath the car due to gas leaking from the car’s tank. The fire was finally suppressed when a wrecker arrived and was able to pull the car out from under the awning and raise it so firefighters could attack the undercarriage to extinguish the flames.
No injuries were reported. The car was a total loss.
Firefighters were unsure of the cause of the fire. “We got the video from the store and you can see a flash in the back driver’s side of the car,” Seifert said about the potential source of the fire.
Damages were concentrated on the adjacent pump and the pump on the other side of the car, Seifter said. The awning may have some heat damage.
Fortunately, someone hit the emergency pump and electric shut-off switch on the side of the building or it could have been worse, Seifert said. The gas station would likely be operational through the pumps not affected by the fire and a crew was responding to make repairs, Seifert added.
Deputies shut down State Road 56 at 500W and Shiloh Road during the incident so responding fire trucks could operate from the road.
Three trucks and 17 firefighters from the Ireland Volunteer Fire Department responded. They were on scene about an hour and a half.