Car stuck in ditch sparks grass fire

A vehicle got stuck in a ditch, sparking a 1-acre grass fire when the owner tried to get it out.

HANOVER, Colo. (KKTV) - A car and a trailer were destroyed after the vehicle sparked a fire just after midnight Tuesday morning.

The Hanover fire chief says the car got stuck in a ditch, and when the three occupants tried to get it out, it caught fire. The group tried to fight the fire themselves.

"Homeowners were out spraying fire extinguishers and using hand tools," said Chief Carl Tatum.

But despite their efforts, the flames rapidly spread. By the time fire crews got to the scene on Village Heights Road, the fire was moving towards the nearby home.

"Units arrived on scene and found there was a car and small travel trailer fully engulfed heading southeast towards the structure," Tatum said. "First truck got on scene, started hitting some of the fire that was heading up the hill, then went to the travel trailer. The second unit got on scene and started extinguishing the car and any other grasses that may have started.

"Due to the proximity of where the vehicles were at and the smoke and stuff, they went from fighting a wildland fire to going into structural protection."

The fire scorched an acre before firefighters could get it out, but crews were able to keep it from reaching the house.

An explosion was heard when the fire first started, which Tatum said was either the tires on the car popping or a propane tank inside the travel trailer. None of the people in the car were hurt outside of one suffering minor smoke inhalation.

Tatum said conditions were ripe for this sort of incident occurring.

"When it gets stuck and the catalytic converter starts getting warmed up with this dry grass ... it's not unusual to start a fire."