Local Arrests

‘It looked like a big ol’ fireball’

Cars engulfed in flames at the Bluffton Lowe's parking lot

Three afternoon vehicle fires June 8, 2016 in Bluffton Lowe’s parking lot were extinguished with no injuries reported
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Three afternoon vehicle fires June 8, 2016 in Bluffton Lowe’s parking lot were extinguished with no injuries reported

When Sun City’s Forrest Meeks went to the Bluffton Lowe’s Wednesday to purchase power washers for work in Hampton Hall, he expected it to be an uneventful trip.

Park the car. Head into the store. Order the power washers. Head back to the car. Go home.

Things went as planned until the head back to the car part.

“I walked out of Lowe’s and saw some smoke coming from the car beside mine,” he said.

Meeks’ Ford Fiesta was one of three vehicles involved in a fire around 12:30 p.m. He said the flames began with a Hyundai Accent parked two cars away.

“The first car (the Hyundai) was smoking, and it was sparking, and all kinds of craziness was going on,” Meeks said.

When he saw the flames spread to a Mercedes Benz parked next to his car, Meeks briefly thought of hopping in the passenger side and driving his car away before the flames got to it.

As he watched the fire grow, he knew it was too late.

“It spread to the next car (the Mercedes), and that car caught on fire,” he said. “Its passenger side door blew open, and the flames got higher and higher, and it looked like a big ol’ fireball going straight to my car.”

Meeks’ Fiesta suffered substantial damage.

The windows, front and back bumpers and tires had all melted by time crews from the Bluffton Township Fire District arrived.

As his insurance company deals with his claim, Meeks said he has to pay for a rental car on his own dime.

No injuries were reported, fire district Capt. Peter Reid said Wednesday.

The fire remains under investigation, and no cause has been announced, Reid said.

Efforts Thursday to reach the owners of the Mercedes Benz and the Hyundai Accent were unsuccessful.

“I’ve never seen anything like this happen before,” Meeks said.

Caitlin Turner: 843-706-8184, @Cait_E_Turner

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