HAVELOCK — A pick-up truck fire could have been a lot worse had a barber not been on the ball.
According to the Havelock Fire Department, a truck caught fire around 12:40 p.m. Saturday at the Main Gate Barber Shop at 110 Crocker Road.
Brande Burroughs, who owns the shop, said that a pick-up truck pulled into the parking lot and the driver came into the barbershop for a haircut. His wife, Burroughs said, remained in the GMC truck.
While the customer was still waiting, one of the barbers, Ravon Arrington, saw smoke coming out from the truck’s hood.
“All of a sudden it burst into flames,” Burroughs said. “He grabbed a fire extinguisher and ran out the front door and got the fire put out.”
The customer followed Arrington out the door. “The lady got out of the truck by herself and the husband was trying to get his stuff out of the truck,” Burrows said. The fire was out when the firefighters arrived.
“I was just pretty impressed with his courage and selflessness, to run out and keep the fire away from the building and our customers,” Burroughs said.
According to Havelock Fire Marshall John Lewis, car fires are not uncommon. “We get them all the time,” he said.
Keeping your car in good shape is the best way to avoid fires, he said. Also, don’t do any work on the car that you aren’t honestly qualified to do.
“We find a lot of times car fires are started by people doing wiring, like putting in a radio, and using the wrong size wires,” Lewis said.
He had a few suggestions in case your car ever catches fire while you are driving.
“First, pull over to a safe location,” he said, “a parking lot if possible.”
If the fire occurs on the highway, you should still look for a paved area to pull onto if possible. “Especially in the summer time,” he said, “if the grass is high on the side of the road, you don’t want to catch the grass on fire.”
Once off the road, turn off the ignition and get out of the car. Then call 911 and give a location, being as exact as you can. Lewis said that EMS will often receive vague directions, such as a building or sign that could be two or three miles from where the fire actually is. One idea is to make note of a mile marker to report.
“Tell us what kind of car it is,” he said, “especially let us know if it’s carrying something hazardous or highly flammable.”
Finally, don’t go back in until firefighters have dealt with the emergency. Lewis said to be wary of trying to lift the car hood to fight the fire yourself: The hood or the release could be superheated, and opening the hood gives the fire a sudden boost of oxygen, which could make the flames leap out.
“You hate to see your car burn,” he said, “but it’s better than burning yourself.”