Firefighters battle blaze on I-35

As summer rolls in, the Devine and Lytle fire department has responded to multiple car fires that have popped up around the county.
One of these fires started last Friday, June 11th, on I 35 at mile marker 124 when a white Toyota Camry ignited due to a broken rod in the engine that then entered the oil pan. The driver and their dog were not harmed in the fire.
“The driver was able to get the vehicle to the shoulder but couldn’t extinguish the fire,” Chief said. “Atkinson command 8120 was first on the scene, at which time the car’s engine and passenger compartment was engulfed. Engine 8220 arrived and Assistant Chief Paul Gengler and firefighter Melanie Dossey pulled a line from the engine’s bumper and knocked down the fire.”
Another incident at rest stop near mile marker 129 took place the night before, June 10th, when a semi-trailer caught fire. The Lytle Fire Department ran the scene while Devine shuttled water and provided additional support to both the trailer fire and a nearby accident. The cause of the fire is unknown.
“The truck driver was able to disconnect the trailer before the fire spread further,” Lytle Fire Chief Matt Dear said. “The second accident was caused by two vehicles colliding while rubbernecking the fire.”
In addition to reminding drivers to remain focused on their driving while near an accident, Fire Departments would like to warn that though these fires were caused by mechanical issues unrelated to the summer heat, drivers should be cautious of heat related failures could cause serious damage.
“As it heats up, if people haven’t performed maintenance on vehicles correctly, these car fires are more and more likely,” Devine Fire Chief Greg Atkinson said. “Brakes get hot, engines heat up, and if there is an oil or gas leak, that’s all it takes.”
According to the Devine Fire Department, pavement temps have been reading around 120o F. Diesel has a flashpoint of 126o and gas has a flashpoint of only 70o
“These machines get hot and if not maintained they can start car fires and cause major accidents,” Atkinson said. “It’s important for people traveling this summer to have their vehicles properly maintained.”
By Noah Davila