Chesterton Tribune

Woman and child escape car fire on Indiana 49 Monday

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A woman and her child safely escaped their burning car on Monday, after the dashboard erupted in flames while she was driving on Ind. 49, the Chesterton Fire Department said.

Deputy Fire Chief John Jarka told the Chesterton Tribune today that the incident occurred around 9:44 a.m. in the southbound lanes of Ind. 49, near the intersection of East Porter Ave. “It started in the dashboard,” Jarka said. “Something electrical. Then it shorted the airbags and they popped on her.”

The woman managed to exit the vehicle with her child and was not injured by the airbag deployment, Jarka said.

Firefighters used 150 gallons to douse the fire in the 2003 Volkswagen Jetta, after Jarka and a passerby used extinguishers to knock the blaze down. The car, however, was totaled. “The electronics were melted,” he said. “The windshield was broken.”

Jarka did note that most vehicle fires start in the engine compartment but the CFD has seen the dashboard variety before.

There was a bit of a silver lining. The CFD was able to provide the woman with a child safety seat through the department’s car seat program, Jarka said.

The CFD cleared the scene at 10:005 a.m.



Posted 8/7/2012