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Beamer Bonfire: This is what a half million dollars of burning Mini Coopers and BMWs look like. [Katelyn McDonnell photo, special to The Mountain Enterprise]
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Harry Spyrka of Ace Hardware sent this photo of the charred BMW and Mini Cooper vehicle remains, still in the transport trailer at the I-5 shoulder.
$500,000 in Luxury Cars Go Up in Smoke
A million dollars in luxury BMW vehicles were being transported across the Grapevine Saturday, Aug. 13 when the big rig transport’s brakes caught fire. Larry McDonnell and his family of Lebec saw the fire at 3:15 p.m. in the northbound lane of the I-5, at the base of the Grapevine.
The Kern County Fire Department reported $450,000 in Beamers and the transport tractor were saved when Kern County firefighters were able to detach the tractor and move it and the front carrier away from the burning rear carrier trailer.
Big rig brake failures happen frequently on the Grapevine grade, sometimes resulting in brush fires that emperil residents of the Mountain Communities.
Our Breaking News coverage of the story last week:
LEBEC (Saturday, Aug. 13, 2011 at 8:30 p.m.)—The Kern County Fire Department reports there was an auto transport big rig fire on northbound I-5 about 1 mile north of the Grapevine exit about 3:15 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13. This is the KCFD report:
"The first arriving engine company made a quick attack on the fire that had spread into the trailer of the vehicle which was loaded with brand new luxury vehicles. The KCFD was [able to] separate the trailer from the tractor after extinguishing the fire. The driver of the big rig was then able to drive the tractor away from the rear portion of the vehicle that was on fire.
"Total damage to the rear trailer and cars on board is estimated at $500,000 and an aggressive initial attack prevented the fire from extending into the front section of the trailer, which contained three luxury vehicles, saving $450,000 worth of property loss. Cause of the fire was determined to be from a brake fire. No injuries were reported. A total of ten Kern County firefighters assisted in extinguishing the flames."
This is part of the August 19, 2011 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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