A fiery explosion blew apart a Tredyffrin Police Dpeartment patrol vehicle Saturday afternoon in the Wayne section of Tredyffrin, blowing the trunk, glass and metal 50 feet into the air.
when she smelled smoke coming from the rear of the 2011 Dodge Charger. The officer, who the police chief declined to identify by name to preserve her privacy, got out of the vehicle and called for help.
She was able to remove her firearms and ammunition from the car as she got out. The fire company says that quick thinking may have prevented the explosion from turning even more dangerous. "This action greatly reduced the danger to firefighters and also to residents in the neighborhood, " fire officials said.
Moments later the car was engulfed in flames.
According to a report posted on the Berwyn Fire Company's website "just before firefighters from Engine 2-2 made their approach to extinguish the fire, there was an explosion that sent the trunk of the car over 50' into the air. The blast also sent glass, metal and other debris over 100' away from the patrol car. It is likely that the oxygen tank, stored in a medical bag in the trunk, caused the explosion.
The crew of Engine 2-2 was able to extinguish the fire shortly after their arrival. Firefighters also contained the fuel and other vehicle fluids that were flowing towards storm drains with absorbent pads and oil dry.
According to the fire company and police chief the Chester County Fire Marshal is investigating the cause of the blaze, which started in the rear wheel well area of the patrol car. The fire company reports that "a preliminary source of the blaze has been attributed to the area of the secondary power distribution system located in the trunk of the car."
There have been a number of incidents of Dodge Charger Police cars catching fire in the past two years. A similar fire, possibly involving wiring, detroyed a Sheriff's vehcile earlier this year in Oregon.