The staff at a local car dealership in the Pea Ridge West Virginia area helped an elderly man from his vehicle Tuesday afternoon just before it caught fire and spread to six new cars on the lot.
“Our staff helped get the older gentleman out of his car and he pulled over in front of the dealership with his car smoking really bad,” said Nick Thomas, general manager of River City Subaru, located in the 5200 block of U.S. 60 East, between Barboursville and Huntington. “He had a walker and was having trouble getting out, so some of our staff rushed over to get him out. The car was smoking so badly we knew it was going to catch fire.”
Thomas said the man had pulled over next to a line of new Subaru Crosstrek vehicles.
“He said he saw smoke so he pulled over, and after we got him out, the car caught fire,” Thomas said. “The wind blew the flames on to other vehicles at the dealership.”
Thomas said six new cars were damaged by the fire.
“We are just glad nobody got hurt,” he said. “It was a little crazy for a few moments until the fire department arrived. Then we moved some other vehicles at their instruction away from the fire scene.”
Andrew Frazier, deputy chief of the Barboursville Volunteer Fire Department, said a call of a possible vehicle fire near the dealership came in around 11 a.m. and when crews arrived on the scene, the car was completely engulfed.
“The fire spread quickly, and it took us a good 20 to 30 minutes to get everything contained and extinguished,” Frazier said.
Frazier said the lack of fire hydrants in the area caused him to call for backup from the Green Valley and Huntington fire departments.
“We had to close down U.S. Route 60 in both directions for about 30 to 40 minutes,” he said.
Both the eastbound and westbound lanes have since reopened, Frazier said.
Frazier said a determination of what caused the man’s car to catch on fire has not been determined and remains under investigation. No injuries were reported.
The West Virginia State Police and Barboursville Police Department also responded to the scene to help with traffic, Frazier added.