BY PHIL CUSTODIO
Clarkston News Editor
Winds gusting to 20-25 mph intensified a parking lot fire destroying seven vehicles on May 8, investigators say.
“That definitely contributed to the rapid spread of the fire,” said Fire Inspector Greg Brandt of the Independence Township Fire Department.
According to Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, a motorist stopped to check on his overheating 2005 GMC at about 3:39 p.m., May 8. He pulled into the parking lot of McLaren Clarkston Medical Center at 5701 Bow Pointe Drive, opened the hood, saw flames coming from the engine compartment, and called 911 after trying to put it out.
“He tried to extinguish it but it got too large for him,” Brandt said.
The fire, assisted by the wind out of the northwest, spread to six other vehicles parked adjacently and caused well over $100,000 in damage, he said.
Firefighters from the Independence Township Fire Department arrived on the scene and extinguished the fire. There were no injuries reported and no damage done to the structure of the medical building.
The driver was not charged or cited in the incident, according to OCSO.
Witnesses posting to social media reported several popping and explosion sounds. These can happen when tires burst, along with air bags, hatchback gas cylinders, and other vehicle items, Brandt said.
“When firefighters apply water to burning vehicles, some of the metals react violently,” he said.
Investigation continues into a fire in the Wright & Phillipis office in the 5900 block of Ortonville Road, 7:33 a.m., May 11.
An employee arrived to open the building and discovered the interior of the business on fire, according to Oakland County Sheriff’s Office.
Independence Township firefighters extinguished the blaze. The building was unoccupied at the time and no injuries were reported. OCSO Fire Investigations Unit and insurance are still investigating the fire’s cause and origin.
BY PHIL CUSTODIO