Quick action keeps fire at bay in Moran

First responders were able to quickly extinguish a vehicle fire Tuesday within feet of the propane tank exchange rack at the Pete’s Gas Station in Moran.

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June 25, 2021 - 1:50 PM

Windmills at the Prairie Queen Wind Farm north of Moran. Photo by Trevor Hoag / Iola Register

MORAN — First responders were able to quickly extinguish a vehicle fire Tuesday within feet of the propane tank exchange rack at the Pete’s Gas Station in Moran.

Shortly after noon on Tuesday, smoke began emanating from the rear axle of a Subaru sedan in the parking lot of the convenience store, at the intersection of U.S. 54 and 59, according to an Iola Fire Department press release.

Moran Police Chief Shane Smith was the first to arrive on scene and immediately used a dry chemical fire extinguisher on the rear passenger wheel of the car.

As luck would have it, two firefighter/EMTs in an Iola Fire Department pickup were passing the gas station on their way to Savonburg to retrieve a vehicle that had been left in that community after an EMS call earlier in the day.  The Iola crew saw Pete’s staff evacuating customers from the building and then noticed Smith with the extinguisher.  

The firefighters jumped into action with the extinguisher from their own truck, suppressing the fire near the driver’s rear wheel, as the flames were getting dangerously close to the vehicle’s fuel tank.

The quick action by the Iola and Moran responders were able to keep the fire in check long enough for volunteers from the Moran/Marmaton-Osage Fire Department to arrive with a brush truck and a fire engine, Iola Fire Chief Chase Waggoner reported. 

Moran firefighters were rapidly able to put enough water on the fire, which was beginning to flare up after the two extinguishers were exhausted, to have the blaze completely out within minutes.

Due to the proximity of the car to both the propane tank exchange rack and the front of the store, firefighters believe that had the sedan become fully engulfed in flames, it would have been highly likely that the front of the building would have caught on fire as well, Waggoner said.

According to Moran Fire Chief Craig Miller, the fire likely stemmed from a cracked rear differential.  Damage to the vehicle was limited to the rear axle and tires.  

Firefighters believe the car can be repaired and returned to service.

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