A potential vehicle malfunction resulted in a car and nearby grass catching fire on I-40 in Old Fort on Tuesday.
At approximately 1:54 p.m. Tuesday, fire and emergency agencies responded to I-40 eastbound at the Exit 72 off ramp after receiving numerous reports about a vehicle catching fire and causing several fires along the highway.
Sharon Davis of Mooresboro, who said she and her husband Tommy had just bought the 1990 Oldsmobile that day in Leicester, was riding behind the car in her vehicle on the interstate traveling eastbound when the blaze occurred.
“We bought it to use on my mail route,” said Davis, “and we had just left the DMV and had the title done and had insurance paid for on it. It had a skip, so we were taking it to my mechanic and I was following him and there were sparks coming out from under the car. I called him and told him, because maybe it had been pavement or something causing the spark. And he said, ‘No…,’ and then it just suddenly blew. I told him, ‘You’re on fire, you gotta pull over now.’”
According to Old Fort Fire Chief Ron Richardson, the resulting sparks from the Oldsmobile caught two different sets of fire on the shoulder of the roadway, but were under control upon arrival.
According Davis, a brake caliper locking up on the vehicle and getting hot may have contributed to the fire.
No injuries were reported during the incident, according to Richardson.
The 72 eastbound off ramp was closed for over an hour for traffic control.
Old Fort Fire Department, Old Fort Police Department, McDowell EMS, McDowell Rescue Squad, NC Forest Service and the NC Highway Patrol responded or were notified to the incident.