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Car bursts into flames at The Academy

Posted: 10:37 PM, Jan 15, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-16 07:32:50-05

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — A car burst into flames right before school started at The Academy on Tuesday.

The Charlotte County Fire Department said in a Facebook post a parent had just pulled her Nissan Altima into The Academy parking lot to drop off her daughter and noticed sparks coming from underneath the car. She and her daughter got out of the car just before the car burst into flames.

There were nearly 70 car fires in Charlotte County in 2018. Four happened so far this year. Two of those happened yesterday and today.

Todd Dunn with Charlotte County Fire said the mom did the right thing by getting out of the car right away, and said he offers the same advice to others. “If you find yourself driving and you think your car’s on fire, what you need to do is get over as quickly and safely as possible. Turn the engine off. Get everybody out of the car and call 911,” he said.

Izaiah D’Amato goes to Port Charlotte High School next door. He said he and his friends rushed outside to see what all the commotion was about. Initially, there was some misinformation going around. “We just heard that a car burst into flames in front of The Academy,” he said. “At first people were saying that The Academy was on fire. And then everyone at my school came outside and I looked with my buddies. And we’d seen a car smoking.”

The owner of the car that caught fire yesterday at Circle K on Kings Highway told the fire department the car had been leaking oil for weeks. Dunn said fires like this can be prevented.

“What you should do to prevent car fires is have it maintained by a professional mechanic. Or get in there and make sure you’re not having leaks and fluid leaks and stuff like that,” he said.

The owner of the car that caught fire at The Academy told officials she bought the car from a private owner and only had it for a week. But said she did not have any mechanical work done on it.

The fire department said the fire damaged the car at The Academy so bad that they’re not able to tell what caused it.