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Four cars damaged by fire Tuesday near Jack in the Box

By: Patty McAlpin Lincoln News Messenger Reporter
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No one was injured although a 2006 Dodge Charger and three other cars were damaged Monday afternoon in the Safeway shopping center parking lot when the trunk of the Charger caught fire. The Lincoln Fire Department received numerous calls about the fire at 2:42 p.m. Seven fire personnel riding in two engines and a brush engine responded to the fire. Lincoln Fire Department Battalion Chief Tolan Dworak said the fire began in the trunk area, reached the fuel system and spread to the rest of the car. From there, the fire spread to a Pontiac parked to the right, a Ford Taurus to the left and a Corolla facing the Charger. Fire officials discovered a short time later that debris landed on the windshield of a Toyota Corolla parked to the right three spaces away. The Charger’s driver, Juan Cortes of Olivehurst, was on his way home when the engine light inside the car came on. His daughter drove him home after the fire. “After I passed the Twelve Bridges exit on Highway 65, the engine light came on,” said Cortes, who has had the car for three years and couldn’t recall any previous problems. “I parked near Jack in the Box and turned the engine off. I saw smoke and thought the heater cord was broken. I opened the trunk and saw smoke.” Jesus Lopez, who owns the 1999 Corolla that was parked opposite from the Charger, said he works at Starbucks and didn’t realize his car was on fire until he saw the Fire Department vehicles in the parking lot. He said his brother lives in town and would give him a ride home. Asked how he will get to work, Lopez said, “I’ll be riding my bike for now.” A city of Lincoln Public Services Department vacuum truck was called to suck up any possible gasoline runoff. The cost for Police, Fire and public works departments to respond to this incident totaled $2,500, according to Dworak.