‘You just have to keep your head’

Quick thinking prevents fire from consuming entire vehicle.

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A car fire in the parking lot of the Casey's General Store on First Avenue in Perry Tuesday evening was, fortunately, contained to the trunk of the vehicle.

Rarely can the victim of a car fire consider himself lucky, but such was the case for Jake Peitzman of Berkley Tuesday evening.

Peitzman was driving his 1998 Buick LeSabre south toward Perry at approximately 9:30 p.m. en route to his job at Tyson Fresh Meats when smoke began to fill the passenger compartment of his car.

“By the time I got close to Park Street, I could barely see, and it was hard to breathe,” he said. “You just have to keep your head. I managed to keep my cool and pull in here (Casey’s General Store on First Avenue) as fast as I could.”

The cause of the fire remains undetermined.
The cause of the fire remains undetermined.

Peitzman ran into the store, alerted the clerks to call 911 and quickly grabbed a large plastic cup, which he filled with water from the restroom. He said he was initially worried the fire might be chemical in nature and would thus spread upon contact with water, but his concerns were unfounded.

“The flames were shooting straight up, and I just poured the water right on top of it, and it went out,” he said. “I used water to spread around where the fire was, but it was already out.”

Perry Police were quickly on the scene, as was Perry Volunteer Fire Department First Assistant Chief Brian Eiteman, who told dispatchers to have the remainder of the department disregard the initial summons.

The contents of the trunk were completely destroyed, with the fire burning through the floor board in one spot and causing damage to the spare tire and smoke damage throughout the vehicle.

The fire burned through the floor board of the trunk, damaging the spare tire in the process.
The fire burned through the floor board of the trunk, damaging the spare tire in the process.

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