Fire destroys man's car, garage

Published On: Aug 09 2014 03:31:17 PM EDT
Updated On: Aug 09 2014 11:48:54 PM EDT

Tinkering around with a car in a garage led to a fire at one Westside home.

JACKSONVILLE. Fla. -

Firefighters were called out to a Westside home after a man's classic El Camino caught on fire in a garage.

Alfred Johnson watched the fire destroy his vehicle and the garage it was in.

“It's an '81 El Camino. It was in pretty good shape, just hadn't been started up in a while -- went to start it up and then that's when all the bad stuff happened,” said Johnson

Johnson said that his time in the Navy trained him to know what fire smelled like, so he looked under the hood, saw flames and immediately ran inside to get his girlfriend out safely.

"I just told her I was like, 'Get out the house,' for a lack of a better words. She was like, 'I'll tell you later, just get out the house,' and then she got out the house," said Johnson.

Johnson called 911 and watched as the flames spread at his home on Winterwood Circle near Shircliff Drive.

The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department was able to get there in time to keep the fire contained. It only damaged the car, the garage and the utility room.

Johnson and his girlfriend are still going to be able to stay inside their home.

District Chief Donald Blanton said it's partially because Johnson called them quickly.

It's something he said can make a big difference in fires like these.

“It's a natural instinct to grab a fire extinguisher and that's a fine thing to do but unfortunately some people get to working so hard putting out their own fire that it delays calling us,” said Blanton.

Blanton said a few firefighters had minor blisters but no one was hurt.

While his classic car is ruined, Johnson feels lucky he still has what's most important.

"It's material. Life was preserved, so that's all that matters in the end," said Johnson.

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