Two Hico teenagers alerted Stephenville police to a large fire near an overpass on the South Loop shortly after 10 p.m. Monday.
“Me and my friend were driving home from Wal-Mart and we saw smoke blowing across the road,” said Hallie Ogle, a Hico High School senior.
Ogle’s friend Hannah Gill was driving.
“We thought it could be a controlled burn, but decided it wasn’t and Hallie called 911,” Gill said.
Gill pulled into the parking lot of Hampton Inn and Suites trying to get a better look at what was happening. Both girls could hear the fire popping and crackling.
“It was getting really big, really fast,” Ogle said. “Then the wind shifted and I saw there was a car on fire.”
Fire Chief Jimmy Chew confirmed that a vehicle was involved in the fire.
“It’s possible that it was set on fire; it’s possible that it accidentally caught on fire,” Chew said. “It’s under investigation right now.”
Chew said the fire quickly spread from the car to the surrounding grass and up to the guardrail.
Police shut down traffic in both directions to give crews room to work.
Firefighters were able to get a truck down to the car and found it already engulfed in flames. No one was inside the vehicle.
Chew said the hotel and nearby businesses west of the fire were not evacuated because the wind was pushing the fire in the opposite direction.
Once the flames were out, crews checked the road and overpass for damage. Chew said although some of the paint was charred, no structure damage was found.
“One police officer was treated for smoke inhalation on scene,” Chew said.