A car that caught fire Tuesday afternoon (June 23) near a gas pump at an Arnold gas station was quickly extinguished and no one was injured, according to the Rock Community Fire Protection District.
At about 3 p.m., Rock Fire got a call that a fire had started in the engine of a 2011 Chrysler parked next to a pump at the Circle K gas station, 2001 Richardson Road. Firefighters arrived at the station at 3:03 p.m. and put out the fire in less than two minutes, Rock Fire spokesman Ron Harder said.
“It was a great team effort. The dispatchers (at Jefferson County 911 Dispatch) got good information and dispatched a full first alarm. We had all of our trucks and some Mehlville (Fire Protection District) trucks there,” Harder said. “So, we sent plenty of equipment to an incident that could have been a disaster. But because of the quick response, quick hit on the fire, it really saved what could have been a disastrous situation.”
The fire was ruled accidental. However, Jim Goebel, an inspector and investigator for Rock Fire, said the cause of the fire is unknown.
The car was totaled, and a gas and diesel fuel pump, along with a trash can, were damaged by the heat. The canopy over the gas pumps was damaged by smoke, Goebel said.
The gas station was temporarily closed because of the car fire, but the business had reopened by Tuesday evening, Goebel said.
He said the two damaged pumps were roped off and will be inoperable until the station can repair or replace them.
A 56-year-old Tuscaloosa, Ala., woman who was traveling to the St. Louis area to visit her daughter had parked the car at the pump and had gone into the convenience store. When the woman returned to her car, she noticed smoke coming from the engine, as well as some sparks shooting out from under the car. She was able to grab some paperwork out of car’s glove box before the engine was engulfed in flames, Goebel said.
Goebel said a store manager quickly turned off the gas pumps and electricity to the area, and no one was near the car when firefighters arrived.
The woman told firefighters she recently had some work done on the car, but Goebel said that information did not provide clues about what may have caused the fire.