Vehicle fire attracts crowd

TIPTON – A vehicle fire that occurred about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday brought some neighbors out of their yards to watch as a 2004 Dodge Caravan burned down to its frame and four air-filled tires burst, causing miniature explosions along an otherwise quiet Kingdom Street.

Tipton-Antis Fire Department Chief Dave Peterson said the car’s owner, Ronald Cherry Sr., was using a torch to cut a trailer hitch off the van when it sparked, causing the fire.

“It just got out of hand,” he said.

One of Cherry’s neighbors said he and his son were the first ones to see smoke and dialed 911. His son said all four tires must have exploded, because he heard four loud booms.

Firefighters blanketed the car with a foam-and-water mixture to smother the flames, which were extinguished before 8 p.m.

But the smell of burning rubber lingered, along with a few stray wisps of smoke from a still-smoldering hood.

Cherry said aside from a few singed eyebrow and chest hairs, no one was hurt.

“I’m just glad there was no gas in it,” he said.

Cherry said he regrets having bought the vehicle, which he said he was using only for parts.

His late father, an accomplished mechanic, would have “kicked his butt” for buying the van in the first place, he said.

Mirror Staff Writer Kelly Cernetich is at 946-7520.