BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A brush fire spread to and set ablaze vehicles that began exploding at a CarMax lot in south Bakersfield, damaging or destroying a total of 86 vehicles, according to fire officials.
Reported at 1:30 p.m., the fire traveled from the right shoulder of southbound Highway 99 to the car lot on Colony Street, according to the Bakersfield Fire Department.
Between 45 to 50 firefighters responded to the fire, with multiple units dispatched to several fires reported along the 99, fire officials said. CarMax was evacuated as crews fought the blaze.
Firefighters wore protective masks due to hazardous materials burning in the vehicles, officials said.
Kern County Fire brought a refrigerator truck and large fan to help with the heat as temperatures rose to the upper 90s this afternoon.
Traffic slowed in the area around 2 p.m., with motorists reporting smoke drifting into traffic lanes, the CHP said.
The CHP said a big rig dragging a chain may have sparked the blaze. The driver was not found.
Fire officials said a vehicle dragging something or a motorist throwing an item out the window is a common cause of fires when it’s hot and brush is dry.