UPDATE: Car explosion leads to gas station fire - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Car explosion leads to gas station fire

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The charred remains of the vehicle where the fire started./ Callie Starnes. WRCB-TV The charred remains of the vehicle where the fire started./ Callie Starnes. WRCB-TV
A photo of the fire submitted by Channel 3 viewer, Kristin Gans. A photo of the fire submitted by Channel 3 viewer, Kristin Gans.

HAMILTON COUNTY, TN. (WRCB) -- A man and his family are safe after their car exploded, igniting nearby gas pumps.

Police say the call came in around 3:00 Monday afternoon from the gas station at the intersection of Standifer Gap and Bill Reed Road.

"It was smoking a little bit so I decided to pull over at the gas station to see what was going on," Egertis Butchee told Channel 3, "and I saw a small flame."

Egertis Butchee had just picked his five kids up from school and was taking his wife to work when his Cadillac started smoking. He stopped at the Mapco on Standifer Gap Road, popped the hood, and panicked.

"(I thought) get them out real fast because I noticed that I pulled in by a gas pump," said Butchee, "we all were panicking."

"He hurried up and told us to get out of the car," said Kimberly Butchee.

The five kids watched from inside as their dad tried twice to put the fire out, but the flames continued to spread.

"They were scared but they were still peeking at the car," he said, "they didn't think it was going to blow up."

The fire spread to a nearby gas pump, that's when Mapco employees sprung into action.

"The worker in the Mapco immediately (pulled) the shut off valve," said Amy Maxwell, spokesperson for Hamilton County EMS, "which actually turns off the fuel pump and also the electrical area that goes into the fuel pumps for the cars."

Tri-Community volunteer fire fighters arrived on scene and put the fire out in a matter of minutes, but fire officials it's hard to say what started it.

Butchee says he's never had trouble with the car. He's just thankful he pulled over when he did.

"My babies were scared but ain't nothing we can do about it now," said Butchee, looking at the wreckage.

Butchee says the car was not insured. It is a total loss.

It is unknown how much damage the fire caused to the Mapco station, which stayed closed Monday afternoon.

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