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Fire destroys car at Live Oak Lodge

By Marti Gatlin | | January 21, 2011

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Firefighters, military police and paramedics responded to a car fire at Live Oak Lodge Billeting Office Friday morning.

A Volkswagen Beetle was fully engulfed in flames in the lodge’s parking lot when firefighters arrived mid-morning, according to Assistant Chief Steve Waltermon, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany Fire Department.

Gwen Sims, owner of the 2000 model, who works for the Live Oak Lodge laundry department, said she was pulling in the parking lot to report in for work. She noticed smoke coming from underneath the dash near the radio.

After she clocked in, Sims said she thought the car was just overheating and would cool off. She got some water in a plastic jug to help cool it off, but the smoke had gotten thicker. Sims asked for help from her supervisor, retired Marine Sgt. Maj. Randall Kennedy, and Live Oak Lodge Billeting Office desk attendant Ghana Paige called the fire department.

Kennedy, bachelor and transit billeting manager, tried to put it out with a fire extinguisher. The fire extinguisher didn’t penetrate the car’s dashboard walls after he sprayed it a few times.

“It continued to smolder and I had her get her belongings,” he said. Sims grabbed her purse and what she thought was important from her glove compartment as fast as she could.

Kennedy, who was parked next to Sims, and Paige, whose car was parked under the carport, moved their vehicles away from the burning Beetle.

“I was grateful I could help and I regret we were not able to save her car,” Kennedy said.

Sims thanked Kennedy for helping her, and even though the fire destroyed her car, she was more worried about her co-workers and their belongings.

“It’s important no one got hurt and no one else’s property was damaged,” she said. Firefighters put out the fire and checked for hot spots to make sure it was completely extinguished.


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