Troy firefighters battle three vehicle fires in one day

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published February 7, 2013

Two separate vehicle fires snagged traffic for miles on I-75 during the morning and afternoon of Feb. 6. 

Firefighters extinguished three vehicle blazes that day. Smoke and flames from all three fires could be seen for miles on the bright, sunny day.

Firefighters from Station 2 were called out twice in four hours to put out fires in vehicles on southbound I-75.

“That’s not a common occurrence,” Assistant Fire Chief David Roberts said.

According to reports, the first fire occurred when a Dodge pickup truck caught fire near a garage at the corner of Northampton and Castleton, near Maple, west of Dequindre, just after 9:30 a.m. The fuel tank had ruptured, and leaking gasoline continued to burn. Firefighters stopped the leak, then put out the blaze.

Minutes later, just after 9:45 a.m., firefighters were called to the scene of a vehicle fire on southbound I-75, south of the Wattles Road overpass. A ’97 Dodge Caravan caught ablaze on the right shoulder, according to reports. The tires, airbags and titanium vehicle parts exploded, which Roberts said is not uncommon in vehicle fires. The woman driving the van told police she had just purchased the used vehicle and was on her way to work when she saw smoke coming from the engine. Roberts said she was able to pull over and safely get herself and her belongings out of the vehicle. She was cold, but not injured, Roberts said.

Just before 2:15 p.m. a semi-truck caught fire on southbound I-75 at the Big Beaver overpass. Firefighters arrived to find the semi-truck, which had been hauling an empty trash trailer, ablaze on the right shoulder. Tires and hydraulic lines exploded, Roberts said. The driver of the truck sprained his ankle when he got out of the truck, but was otherwise uninjured, Roberts said, and was treated at the scene. Police diverted southbound traffic on I-75 to westbound Big Beaver so firefighters could extinguish the blaze and prevent any danger to oncoming traffic travelling through the thick black smoke.

Roberts said that while vehicle fires are not unusual, three in one day was very uncommon. “A couple times we’ve had two house fires in one day, but not three vehicle fires,” he said.