Oak Bluffs firefighters douse vintage Cadillac on fire

Flames quickly enveloped the 1994 Coupe de Ville. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

Oak Bluffs firefighters found a 1994 Cadillac Coupe de Ville parked in the driveway of 38 Wing Road Monday evening enveloped in flames.

They had responded to a report of a car fire called in at 7:07 pm and quickly extinguished the blaze. Luckily, a team of firefighters was conducting a drill in the parking lot of the adjacent Oak Bluffs School. Firefighters were also at a meeting at the nearby Oak Bluffs firehouse.

The first department member arrived at the scene one minute after the call came in, and the first truck minutes later, police said.

There was no immediate information available from firefighters about the cause of the fire. But Richard Olenick, an auto mechanic, thinks he knows what caused his wife Lucy’s car to erupt in flames: mice.

Mr. Olenick said the car had sat in the driveway pretty much unused since they bought it about four months ago. “Mice got up inside of it,” he told The Times on Tuesday. “All it takes is them chewing the wires to cause a spark.” He said the fire appeared to start in the insulation between the engine and passenger compartments.

Mr. Olenick said he and his wife were watching television when they heard an explosion. “When I looked out the window all I saw was a car on fire,” he said.

He called 911 and began moving nearby vehicles away from the flames. A tire exploded, then an explosion blew the hood up, then another tire blew sending flames into the air, Mr. Olenick said. One concern was the house. “It’s an old house,” he said, “all it needed was one spark and that sucker would have gone up.”

Luckily, firefighters were already on the scene. Mr. Olenick said the emergency response was quick and impressive. “I never saw so many firefighters in one place,” he said.

Mr. Olenick took the loss of the Caddy in stride. “It’s just a car. It’s replaceable. Nobody got hurt,” he said. “2012 started with a bang.”