A Utah couple cut their road trip short Thursday afternoon after a car they were towing behind their recreational vehicle caught fire.
The couple, who told a bystander they live in South Jordan, Utah, allegedly decided after the incident not to press on to their destination. The fire briefly shut down a portion of Highway 22 near Wenzel Lane, west of the Snake River.
“The vacation was over, she said,” Wilson resident and witness to the accident Nick Greece said.
Greece stopped to assist the couple when he saw the fire, before police and fire trucks arrived.
Greece was returning home from running errands in Jackson around 3:20 p.m. Thursday when he saw a vehicle on fire and took decisive action, he said.
“I was headed towards Wilson, and I was like, ‘I hope it doesn’t blow up,’” he said. “I didn’t want to get stuck in traffic, so I was like, ‘I’m just going to punch it.’ ”
Greece was among the last west-bound drivers to pass the burning automobile before emergency crews shut down the highway, he said.
After making it safely past the burning vehicle, Greece stopped to comfort the tourists. He spoke with a woman who identified herself only as Barbara, who was in the RV when the car it was towing caught fire.
The car, Greece said, was a recent-model hatchback whose make was not readily apparent. The car was fully engulfed in flames when Greece arrived, he said.
“It was going pretty good when I went by it,” he said.
Two fire engines soon arrived on scene. The vehicle was “a total loss,” Jackson Hole Fire/EMS Batallion Chief Brian Coe said. The tourists suffered no injuries, he said.
Traffic was stopped completely for only about 10 minutes, Coe said, and a single lane of travel soon opened.
At 5 p.m. — an hour and a half after the fire was reported — traffic on Highway 22 was moving in both directions but nevertheless backed up to Jackson, Coe said.