South Thomaston car on fire avoids bus, scorches tree

Posted:  Thursday, September 21, 2017 - 6:30pm

SOUTH THOMASTON – The operator of a car in South Thomaston needed only to look at his burned pant leg to see how narrowly he’d escaped serious injury just after 4 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 21.

As Dana Fogg started up Buttermilk Lane toward his job, the car’s interior filled with smoke. He turned the car around and pulled back in to his driveway as fast as possible.

“When I stopped the car,” Fogg said, “all the smoke just went (poof) right in my face.”

Fogg said he could see a bit of flame coming from under the gear shift. He got out and opened the hood. Flames filled the engine compartment, and, with the water he had on hand, he tried to extinguish the fire. But the water didn’t make a difference.

If the state of the car itself wasn’t enough, Fogg had a bigger concern. He’d parked next to another automobile, in front of his garage, and feet away from the deteriorating barn portion of his old farmhouse.

He jumped back into the car and shifted into reverse.

Next door, his friend, Chipper, heard the loud rev of Fogg’s actions.

Fogg peeled out, backwards. He didn’t bother with the proper driveway. Instead, he backed at an angle, on the lawn, up the embankment at the roadside, between some trees, right into the path of a school bus.

At the sight of the bus, which didn’t have passengers, Fogg reversed directions, backing up the roadside grass of his property, before coming to a stop next to a tree.

“When I saw the school bus, it scared me more than my car on fire,” he said. “Kids and stuff. A car on fire driving right into a school bus.”

For their sake, had there been any, he aimed for the tree instead.

At the tree, “I jumped out and watched it go up,” he said.

Fogg said the bus driver, who’d pulled over after maneuvering to avoid the burning car, kept pointing at Fogg’s boot. At first Fogg didn’t know why the driver kept pointing.

“When I got out, I was on fire,” he said.

The words going through his mind at the time aren’t fit to print, he said. He did, however, know what to do, he said.

And so did the bus driver, according to Fogg.

“He honked his horn and pulled right around me,” Fogg said.

In the end, no one was injured in this one-person, one-vehicle accident that prompted the automatic response by South Thomaston’s fire crew, EMS, and sheriff’s department.

The tree was scorched for several feet, the ground is now saturated from the hoses, and the car has been hauled away as a total loss.

But, as Chipper said, Fogg had been talking about getting a new car anyway.


Reach Sarah Thompson at