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No injuries in downtown car fire on Friday

By Brandi Makuski

A vehicle fire outside Chase Bank at 601 Main St. was swiftly extinguished Friday afternoon, thanks to the quick response of the Stevens Point Fire Department and Stevens Point police.

(Metro Wire photo)

Battalion Chief Jared Hopfensperger reported that the caller initially reported a vehicle fire under the bank’s canopy. Upon arrival, officers observed flames emerging from under the car’s hood.

Crews were dispatched at 3:10 p.m. on July 5. Officers from SPPD on the scene said the female driver pulled into the bank’s parking lot after she noticed her car was smoking while she was driving.

“I arrived first, put on my PPE, and grabbed a fire extinguisher,” Hopfensperger said. “There was not a lot of smoke, but enough to indicate flames were present. I approached the car, saw flames within the hood, and used the ABC extinguisher to put them out.”

The fire appeared confined to the area around the vehicle’s wiring, with most of the damage localized there. The battery remained in good condition, he said.

“I would say the cause is an electrical fire, and we’re just glad no one was hurt,” Hopfensperger added.

He also offered advice to motorists in case their car starts to smoke, or catches fire, while they’re driving: “Don’t park next to other vehicles or buildings. The best place is an open lot, away from structures and other cars. If a fire starts, get out, get your loved ones out, and call 911 immediately.”

The cooperation between fire and law enforcement personnel helped minimize the damage. “Our friends in law enforcement did a phenomenal job. They have fire extinguishers and can sometimes handle small fires before we even arrive, reducing potential loss,” Hopfensperger said.

No one was injured and the vehicle was towed away, he added. The scene was cleared after about 20 minutes.