Vehicle blaze spreads to home

Minutes after returning home from dropping off her three children off at school, a Taylorsville woman’s car caught fire and quickly spread to another vehicle and the residence.

That left a family of four without a habitable house for now.

Carey Maddox of 2716 Maize Drive was home for only minutes Tuesday before hearing a knock on her door just before 8:30 a.m., said Deborah Durr, Maddox’s mother-in-law.

A delivery truck driver was frantically telling Maddox that her Pontiac Grand Prix was ablaze, the woman said.

The blaze quickly spread to the southeast corner of Maddox’s Heritage Heights home, as well as to the side of her Oldsmobile Silhouette minivan parked next to the car, Durr said.

“I’ve never seen such large flames coming out of a car,” Durr said.

As a neighbor was grabbing his garden hose in an effort to put out the blaze, volunteer firefighters began arriving at the scene, Maddox said.

While the only visible residential damage is to a section of the corner siding, the fire also destroyed electrical wiring that must be repaired before the residence is livable again, Durr said.

The car was a total loss, while the minivan — which had been broken down for months — sustained substantial scorching to the driver’s side.

“I’m just glad the kids (ages 6, 7 and 12) weren’t here when this happened,” Maddox said.

Firefighters estimated damage at $15,000, most of it to the residence, said Kelly Jo Lynch, deputy chief of operations for the German Township Volunteer Fire Department.

The only injury was to a Columbus Township firefighter who was bitten by Maddox’s cat as he was trying to move the animal out of danger, Lynch said. The firefighter was taken to Columbus Regional Hospital for a rabies shot and for treatment for the wound, Lynch said.

Maddox, who purchased the Grand Prix 11 months ago from a local used car dealership, said she had taken the car back to the dealer twice in recent weeks.

After investigating Maddox’s complaints about a strange noise coming from the car’s heater, the dealer twice maintained that he could find nothing mechanically wrong with the Grand Prix, Maddox said.

But she heard the same noises again Tuesday morning before dropping her children off at school.

While both the home and car are insured, Maddox said she had just recently canceled her coverage on the broken-down minivan.

Author photo
Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at mwebber@therepublic.com or 812-379-5636.