USA — State Police believe a vehicle with mechanical problems caused seven small brush fires along the southbound side of Garden State Parkway in Ocean and Atlantic counties Tuesday morning.
Police said the fires were not suspicious.
They believe parts broke from a truck and were being dragged along the road. The friction with the roadway caused those pieces of metal to heat up, and each time the driver pulled to the shoulder, a brush fire began, State Police said.
The first fire was reported around 10:30 a.m. on the Parkway near milepost 74.5 in Lacey. Forked River Fire Company and the New Jersey Forest Fire Service extinguished it.
As authorities investigated that fire, a second one was reported at milepost 68.1 in Barnegat.
Around the same time, police received several reports about an erratic driver in a dark-colored Ford pickup truck. Callers said smoke was blowing from the undercarriage of the vehicle as it headed south on the Parkway.
Troopers tried to intercept the truck but could not, because as they drove south, they found five more fires, at mileposts 61.1 in Eagleswood, 49.3 and 47.4 in Port Republic, and 43.6 and 42.6 in Galloway.
The state Forest Fire Service sent additional trucks to the Parkway to help extinguish the flames.
Workers from the state Highway Authority Parkway Maintenance unit helped State Police who carry fire extinguishers in their patrol cars put out some of the smaller fires.