Driver directs burning vehicle off Route 1 in Rockland

Tue, 08/16/2016 - 7:45am

ROCKLAND — Shortly after 7 a.m., Tuesday, Aug. 16, the Rockland Fire Department responded to a vehicle fire in a driveway near the Steel House and Apprentice Shops on Route 1 in Rockland. The driver was uninjured. Due to the fire, a portion of Route 1 was blocked off at the bend in the road.

The fire apparently started in the back of the 2007 Jeep Wrangler, where a fairly new gas can was sitting, according to Rockland Fire Chief Chris Whytock.

The driver, Joseph Page, who was on his way to work, had intended to refill the gas can later in the day.

He noticed the fire in the back of the jeep, pulled over and jumped out.

“It got too hot, too fast for him,” Whytock said.

Something had sparked the fire in the can, and the Office of the Maine Fire Marshal is currently in Rockland with the Rockland Fire Department attempting to determine the cause of the ignition. The can was of a newer style, with a twist lock.

There are no seats in the back of the Jeep, and other car parts were also there.

Whytock advises not to put gas, or other flammable liquid, in the backseat or trunks of cars.

“It’s not a good idea,” he said.