TOPSHAM

The driver of a car that caught fire on Route 196 in Topsham Thursday night is safe, although the vehicle’s engine was destroyed.

The vehicle fire was reported at 7:46 p.m. Thursday. According to Topsham Police Sgt. Mark Gilliam, the driver of a 1996 Volvo station wagon got off Interstate 295 apparently after losing oil pressure. He drove down Route 196 just beyond the Topsham Fair Mall intersection and was in the lane nearest Arby’s when the car caught fire. The driver got out and was not injured. Police were on scene within seconds and Topsham Fire Department arrived at 7:53 p.m.

Both eastbound lanes of Route 196 were closed and traffic diverted into the mall and up Monument Place. Police had to make sure people didn’t get near the vehicle trying to put the fire out, Gilliam said. These type of fires are dangerous as pieces of metal can shoot from a burning vehicle in reaction to the heat.

The entire engine compartment was destroyed, the front tires were gone, and parts of the engine melted, Gilliam said. The car was towed from the scene, which crews cleared at 8:30 p.m.

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