On the afternoon of Oct. 19, I was driving my 1953 Chrysler north of Main Street in the vicinity of the Fairfield Suites when the car was suddenly filled with smoke and I was forced to stop and get out of the car. As I waled back along the passenger side of the car I suddenly saw flames on the rear door panel on the drivers side of the car. I walked around the back and opened that back door.
There had been a traffic accident a relatively short distance ahead of where I stopped and a fire truck was parked there with his emergency lights on. However, they were not aware of my situation. Traffic was moving slowly because of the accident ahead of me, and as cars passed me they could see the flames on my rear car door. Fortunately, a lady in one of the passing cars saw the fire and stopped, and I believe she handed a container of water to a man who had gotten out of his car and was tying to put out the ire with a cup of cold drink.
I think the man took the container of water from the lady who had stopped her car and he quickly doused the flames as there was enough water in the container to put out the fire, or so it appeared anyway. Shortly afterward, firemen from the parked fire truck became aware of what was happening and came running over with a fire extinguisher and made sure the fire was out.
As it was, only the lower half of the door panel was severely burned. However, without the quick action of the lady who supplied a container of water and the man who poured it onto the fire, the flames could probably have quickly spread to the interior of the car and cause a lot more damage before t firemen got there with a fire extinguisher.
I was pretty much in shock with what was going on so I neglected to recognize, and thank the woman and man, who were both shortly our of sight. I very much hope they will see this letter as I want to commend them and thank them for the quick action they took to help me out in a difficult situation.
The fire was actually started by a very unusual circumstance. There was a six-volt car battery on the floor of the car near the drivers side back door, and it apparently tipped over and the positive and negative terminals of the battery simultaneously contacted a metal strip which ran along the base of the door panel, thus shorting out the battery and starting a fire.
Again, I am so appreciative of the woman and man who stopped and provided assistance at just the right time.