A normal vehicle malfunction quickly turned scary Tuesday morning as fire destroyed a van in the Kroger parking lot.
William Crowley told Greencastle Fire Department official he had been having trouble starting his Chrysler Town & Country recently. It seemed to be this same problem again around 9 a.m. at Kroger when Crowley's van started, but it quickly died.
The Greencastle man was about to turn the ignition switch again when he looked in his rear view mirror and saw flames coming from under the vehicle.
GFD was dispatched at 9:03 a.m. to a vehicle fire at the Kroger gas pumps. When they arrived they found the vehicle was actually near the gas pumps, in the westernmost row of the grocery parking lot.
Assistant Chief Jeff Mace said responders not only had to deal with the fully engulfed van, but with runaway fuel leaks that blazed as they rolled across the lot.
The leaking fuel made for a fire that was simultaneously a hazardous material spill. Mace said personnel were able to use hazmat booms and pads to keep most of the gasoline from getting into storm sewers.
Firefighters used water and chemical foam to extinguish the blaze. Mace said gasoline fires are ideally fought only with foam, but that responders had to get the flames under control before they could get close enough to use the foam.