Up in Flames: Flagler Beach Holiday Parade ends with vintage car fire

Flagler Beach’s highly anticipated holiday parade was going wonderfully – until a classic antique Jaguar caught fire on the A1A just north of Moody Blvd. Overall, things have always been a fantastic success, with dozens of creative floats and parade troops able to show their holiday spirit to the residents of Flagler County. And thanks to the swift response of the Flagler Beach Police and Fire Department, no one was injured in the blaze.

The incident happened just south of North 4th Street on the A1A, across from the FARO Beachside Eatery. Smoke from the fire rose well above the three-story building in front of which it occurred.

Image courtesy of Jonathan Lord.

Things were going phenomenally with the parade for quite a while. And that’s the take-home message from Saturday’s festivities, that Flagler Beach hosted an incredible show of community and vacation (stay tuned for an article that talks more about that). Most of the vehicles and people had already crossed before the disaster – it would have been really sad if the incident had destroyed most of the parade.

Image courtesy of Kathryn Karpinski.

There was a sudden and noticeable pause almost an hour after the start of the event. People started exiting on A1A looking north for a better view. The event hosts then started to let people know what had happened, in what seemed almost like a joke at first. But it was clear to see from the bottom of the road, there was dark gray smoke billowing from the road. There really was a car fire, people started to conclude. The hosts urged people not to walk towards the active emergency, but the masses still managed to come together to see better.

Fortunately, the FBPD and FBFD had little difficulty reaching and putting out the fire. FBPD chief Matt Doughney explained what happened: “Almost towards the end of the parade, an older model vehicle had a problem, possibly with the oil. It caught fire just south of 4th Street. Fortunately, the occupants got out and we detained everyone. The fire department came in and extinguished a burning vehicle fire right in the middle of a beach parade vacation. [It] unfortunately the parade ended for public safety, but there were only four or five vehicles left. I prefer to end the parade as we did to ensure public safety rather than trying to move it to another road that was not protected by law enforcement or volunteers.

“When the first call came, it was a smoking vehicle” said FBFD chief Bobby Pace. “It was visible flames, minor flames. The vehicle was completely engulfed and […] we had our parade people who were designated for the parade, we had teams supporting the coverage, also working from station 11, working with station 92 in Flagler County. But these teams did a great job navigating through all of these people. Because this car being central A1A with the dangers it presented, and the damage that could have been done to people, the possible structure involved… I said it probably the third time around, I can’t give enough credit to these fire teams. They did a great job. “

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“No injuries !,” agreed Chief Doughney. “Everyone is leaving, obviously a little disappointed not to have had the chance to see the entire parade, but it was about 95% done. In the grand scheme of things, after all of the issues we’ve had across the country and state, county and city with Covid, trying to get back to some semblance of normalcy has been cut short today a bit. “

Arrivederci, Jaguar. Askflagler

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