Single-car accident ignites 15-acre fire

Single-car accident ignites 15-acre fire

2 August 2006

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A car accident west of Billings on Tuesday morning sparked a grass fire that burned more than 15 acres.

Cyble Ann Davis, 19, of Park City, was eastbound on Grand Avenue at 86th Street West when she lost control of the Dodge Neon she was driving at a curve in the road, said Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Jerald Perman.

The car flipped and rolled over, igniting a fire in grass just north of Grand Avenue, Perman said. The blaze was reported about 9:25 a.m., he said.

Perman said Davis was not injured and will be ticketed for reckless or careless driving.

Larry Mayer/Gazette Staff
Billings firefighters battle a stubborn grass fire started by a car accident near the 8800 block of Grand Avenue Tuesday morning.

The blaze grew rapidly and it took two to three hours to get the fire under control, said Carol Metzger, administrative chief of the Homewood Park Volunteer Fire Department. She said it would take another couple of hours to contain the fire.

In addition to six people who responded from the Homewood Park volunteer fire department, the Billings Fire Department and 10 engines and 32 people from the state Department of Natural Resources and Conservation worked to contain the blaze.

The fire came dangerously close to about 50 gallons of gasoline that was stored on nearby land, Perman said, but was controlled before it reached the fuel.

Metzger said six homes north of the fire could have been threatened if conditions had been different.

“What saved the day today was lower temperatures and humidity was up. … Otherwise (the fire) could have been two to three times the size, and we would have needed structure protection,” she said.

Conditions are ripe now for fires, and people need to be especially careful, Metzger said.

“We need rain so badly,” Metzger said. “All the vegetation is tinder dry.”

Of The Gazette Staff


Larry Mayer/Gazette Staff
The fire on Grand Avenue Tuesday was started by this rollover auto accident.


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