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Bel Air neighbors pulled 75-year-old man from car moments before it was engulfed by fire, officials say

The Office of the State Fire Marshal is investigating what caused a car in the 600 block of Mauser Lane in Bel Air to burst into flames on Thursday. Neighbors pulled a 75-year-old man out of the car. He suffered burns to 50% of his body, the fire marshal's office said, but is in stable condition at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center.
The Office of the State Fire Marshal is investigating what caused a car in the 600 block of Mauser Lane in Bel Air to burst into flames on Thursday. Neighbors pulled a 75-year-old man out of the car. He suffered burns to 50% of his body, the fire marshal's office said, but is in stable condition at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. (Photo courtesy of Erika Butler)

Neighbors pulled a 75-year-old Bel Air man from his car seconds before it burst into flames Thursday, the Office of the State Fire Marshal reported.

The man was flown by Maryland State Police Medevac helicopter to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore and treated for burns to 50% of his body, senior deputy state fire marshal Oliver Alkire said, but his condition was stable Friday.

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Around 3:30 on Thursday, the Bel Air Fire Volunteer Fire Company was requested for a report of a vehicle fire and possible explosions at a home in the 600 block of Mauser Drive. When firefighters arrived, they found a 2017 Mazda CX-5 burning in the home’s driveway. They hurried to extinguish the flames before they spread to the home.

Alkire said a neighbor was doing yard work in front of his home when he heard an explosion and saw the man in the car. He quickly went over and got the man out; other neighbors joined in the effort and dragged the 75-year-old away.

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“Within seconds, the neighbors come out, pull him from the vehicle, and within seconds after that the car is engulfed in flames,” Alkire said.

Alkire said the explosions the neighbors heard could have been airbags deploying, tires popping, glass shattering from heat or a number of other sources.

Fire officials are investigating the cause and origin of the fire, as well as what precipitated it, Alkire said. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives as well as state fire marshals are investigating.

“We are looking at all avenues of how this occurred, why this occurred and what led up to this event,” Alkire said.

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Alkire commended the firefighters for their quick response; the flames could have easily spread to the home from where the car was parked, were it not for their quick arrival,” he said. Nobody else was home at the time of the fire.

The vehicle was a total loss.

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