A CarMax in Bakersfield, Calif., just witnessed $2.1 million of its cars go up in flames after a brush fire spread to the lot. The fire started Monday afternoon, with early reports indicating that a semi-truck dragging a chain on the highway sparked the flames.
As reported by the local ABC-TV affiliate, witnesses said something dragged by the truck was bouncing along the pavement, generating sparks that ignited grass. Once the fire started, it quickly spread across 20 acres before reaching the CarMax lot. Fire officials assessed the damages — 26 cars were incinerated, and an additional 60 burned in some way or another. It’s not clear how badly those 60 cars are damaged, but fire damage is always a tricky game to play.
Looking at the photos, we see that a variety of cars were consumed by the fire. There’s a Kia Stinger, Chevrolet Colorado, Toyota Sienna and a whole lot in between. CarMax hasn’t given its own estimate on the damages, but did report that there were no injuries as a result of the fire. A video shows employees watching the flames approach the lot.
It looks like a scene from your run-of-the-mill apocalypse movie. There were reports of cars exploding from local news outlets, but we can’t confirm that. Bakersfield was experiencing a typical hot summer day in the California desert, as temperatures rose above 90 degrees yesterday. Fire crews evacuated the CarMax as they fought the blaze.
Contrary to other witness reports, the California Highway Patrol says it doesn’t have any accounts from folks saying it was caused by a semi. The CHP also say it isn’t currently looking for a truck matching the description. We can’t say for sure what the actual cause of the fire was, but it doesn’t take much to get something burning in the brush on such a dry, hot summer day.