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Sumerduck dragster cars destroyed in garage fire

Tuesday, Jul. 31 | By Mark Grandstaff | Google+
Firefighters extinguish the Cadillac that caused a garage fire on Sumerduck Road Tuesday afternoon.
A garage fire in Sumerduck Tuesday afternoon consumed a Cadillac, two dragster race cars and a pick-up truck, casting up a column of smoke that could be seen from Bealeton.

A little after 1 p.m., Bea Cofer, resident of a home in the 4300 block of Sumerduck Road, heard her dog barking at something outside. She went outside and saw her grandson's Cadillac in flames.

Her grandson, Alan Witherow, tried to put out the fire with an extinguisher, but relented and called 911 as the flames spread.

Firefighters from Goldvein, Catlett, Lois, Remington, Nokesville volunteer companies and Stafford County career firefighters answered the call. By the time they arrived, the fire spread into the garage – and the race car fuel inside.

Catlett Assistant Chief Mike Moore heard the low, metallic boom of fuel drums igniting. Firefighters poured water into the blaze – and onto about two dozen 55-gallon drums of racing fuel at the garage's rear. The water kept the drums from exploding long enough for firefighters to haul them to safety.

The fire destroyed the Cadillac outside the garage, an adjacent pick-up truck, and the two dragster race cars inside the garage. Witherow and his father, Steve Witherow, raced the cars at the Sumerduck Dragway, Cofer said.

Moore blamed the fire on a battery charger inside the Cadillac. Cofer said she was glad no one was hurt in the fire, but was stunned to see so much of her son's and grandson's property destroyed.

"It's just a big loss," Cofer said.
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