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Fire destroys woman's car; home spared

BY ANTHONY LOMBARDI - alombardi@perutribune.com

Linda Foland’s car was just sitting in her driveway when it suddenly burst into flames on Monday morning. 

And in a matter of minutes, the Chevrolet Equinox was completely destroyed.

But it could have been much worse, according to Miami County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Larry Cattin.

If the wind had shifted, the blaze could have easily caught her home on fire – since it stood just 20 feet away.

Foland had just returned from a shopping trip and was bringing her grocery bags inside her home at 3664 W. 400 N. After walking back outside for another handful, she smelled a “funny odor.” 

The car had erupted in flames. 

“I tried to put it out with a mat,” Foland said. “But I was afraid of gas – I know (the car) had a full tank.” 

Foland said she called 911 around 8:30 a.m. and Deputy Cattin was the first on-scene at approximately 8:43 a.m.  

Cattin said the vehicle was already completely engulfed by the time he arrived. Firefighters from the Mexico Fire Department were able to extinguish the fire, which had spread to a nearby tree, said Fire Chief Anthony Reich. 

Fortunately, the wind was blowing in the opposite direction of Foland’s home. “The southern winds saved the house,” Cattin said. “There’s no doubt about that.” 

While the fire was found to have started above the tire on the driver’s side, Cattin said the police will most likely not conduct any further investigation and the cause will be undetermined. 

Foland said the car wasn’t in the shop recently, and she doesn’t smoke. Her father had previously owned the vehicle before he died. “I wanted to keep it,” she said, as she fought back tears. “He loved it.”