A motorist had a lucky escape this morning after his van burst into flames in a carpark in Co Clare.
A second vehicle was also destroyed while a third suffered some damage. Fire crews prevented the blaze from engulfing other nearby cars.
The incident happened in the village of Clarecastle at around 8.30am.
The driver managed to get some of his personal belongings out of the vehicle before he tried to tackle the blaze with a fire extinguisher. However, the fire quickly took hold and began to spread to a nearby car.
The alarm was raised and two units of the fire service from Ennis rushed to the scene where they found both the van and a car well alight.
Fire crews managed to prevent the fire from spreading to two other cars parked nearby although one of those suffered minor damage. The van was completely destroyed while the car was also damaged beyond repair.
Firefighters used a specialised compressed air foam system (CAFS) to bring the fires under control. Some overhead cables suffered heat damage and ESB engineers were called to deal with that.
Gardaí met with the driver at the scene while they also tried to make contact with the owner of the car. The owner of one vehicle arrived at the scene to find that her car had escaped damage.
Locals reported hearing several bangs which are believed to have been small gas cylinders and tyres exploding.
“I got a smell of burning plastic about 20 minutes before I saw the fire. I closed all my windows and didn’t really think anymore about it until I heard the sirens. I came out then and I saw the van on fire,” one local man said.
Another man said: “I dropped my wife up to Ennis and there was nothing here then. When I was coming back down the motorway, I could see black smoke in the distance. I figured it was around Clarecastle. It’s amazing how something can happen so quickly but thankfully no one was hurt.”
In July of last year, a tractor burst into flames on the main street of Clarecastle just 100 metres from the scene of yesterdays incident.