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Car may have been intentionally torched

POSTED: July 22, 2011 9:47 a.m.

A vehicle fire Tuesday morning in a Walthourville mobile home park has sparked an arson investigation.

The fire reportedly began shortly after 1:30 a.m. at the Cedar Hill Mobile Home Park on West Oglethorpe Highway. When Walthourville Police Officer Brandon Calhoun arrived, he found a 1999 Chrysler LHS engulfed in flames. The officer said he immediately evacuated the homes closest to the flaming vehicle. 

Walthourville Volunteer Fire and Rescue Capt. Phil Chapin, who is investigating the possibility of arson, said the automobile belonged to Midway resident Willie Maxwell. Maxwell told authorities he had loaned the vehicle to a female friend who Chapin declined to identify. Chapin said the vehicle had been vandalized and an accelerant may have been used to start a fire. 

The captain said fiery blasts inside the car may have been caused by the airbags and tires exploding.

The fire was under control within 10 minutes even though firefighters had a difficult time extinguishing it, Walthourville Fire Chief Al Henry said. 

“Every time they sprayed water on it, the fire would spread under the vehicle,” he said. “Eventually, we had to employ foam to fully get the fire under control.” 

The fire damaged the siding of a nearby mobile home, but no one was injured. The case will be turned over to Liberty County Fire Coordinator James Ashdown for further investigation.

 

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