A Wichita man escaped injury Tuesday when his car caught fire as he approached Pratt.
A Wichita man escaped injury Tuesday after his 1992 Mitsubishi caught fire while traveling westbound on U.S. 54 towards Pratt.
Eric Friesen said he heard a "chuga chuga" sound about 10 miles east of Pratt then started seeing smoke in the back of the vehicle about five miles east of town.
He was on his way from his home in Wichita to visit his sister and brother-in-law in Taos, N.M. when the fire broke out.
Friesen said he had to make a quick choice and decided to drive the car on into Pratt. He made it as far at Lanterman Motors where he pulled into the parking lot, ran into the building yelling for a fire extinguisher and tried to put the fire out.
The flames were knocked down when the Pratt Fire Department arrived. Firefighters pulled damaged items out of the back of the vehicle then had to tear off the rear bumper to get to hot spots underneath the car.
The flames damaged the rear interior and the underside of the rear end of the vehicle including the spare tire that also burned.
The interior of the car also suffered smoke damage as well as damage from the spray from the two fire extinguishers used to knock down the flames.
Pratt Fire Chief David Kramer said the exact cause was difficult to pinpoint. It could have been electrical or mechanical but the damage was so bad it was hard to know exactly what started the fire.
Firefighters retrieved Friesen's suitcase from the vehicle. The bag suffered little damage and was intact.
Although the vehicle was parked in a stall directly in front of Lantermans, the building was not damaged in the fire.
After the fire was out, firefighters pushed the burned vehicle to the back lot and used fire hoses to clean up the Lanterman lot.
No one was injured in the fire.