Overheated SUV explodes into flames

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South Kalispell Fire Department responded to a fully engulfed car fire on Tuesday evening on Conrad Drive in Kalispell. (Tiffany Crystal Photography)

A Ford Explorer became completely engulfed in flames after it overheated when the driver was attempting to dislodge the SUV from deep snow.

The South Kalispell Fire Department responded to the vehicle fire at about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday on Conrad Drive near Conrad Memorial Cemetery.

Firefighters could see thick black smoke from miles away as they responded to the incident, according to South Kalispell Fire Chief Chris Yerkes.

“We got it knocked down in about 10 minutes,” Yerkes said.

Firefighters stayed on scene for about an hour, monitoring and cleaning up the scene, he said.

No one was injured in the blaze. Although the dynamics of putting out a vehicle fire are similar to putting out a structure fire, Yerkes said firefighters approach the scene of vehicle fires with caution.

There was a significant amount of magnesium burning at this particular scene, Yerkes said. Firefighters also have to be conscious of fuel tanks and other combustible vehicle parts.

“There are a lot of different things on a vehicle that can pop pretty good when they get heated,” Yerkes said.

Reporter Breeana Laughlin can be reached at 758-4441 or blaughlin@dailyinterlake.com.

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