Stolen car found engulfed in flames south of Cortez, Colorado

by SpeedLux
Cortez, Colorado

Fire crews and law enforcement responded to a mysterious vehicle fire in the 1700 block of Road G in Cortez, Colorado around 2:45 p.m. on New Year’s Day,

Nobody was seen in the 2016 Honda Accent, which was engulfed in flames when fire crews arrived, said Charlie Borden, battalion chief for the Cortez Fire Protection District.

“It was totally destroyed, gutted,” he said. “We put it out quickly.”

The car had been reported to have been stolen from the Walmart parking lot in Cortez 40 minutes earlier, said Montezuma County Sheriff Steve Nowlin.

He said the suspect fled on foot from the scene and was still at large. There were no details available regarding the person, and the car was registered to an owner from New Mexico.

Officials worked to figure out whether the car fire was within the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Indian Affairs or the Colorado State Patrol, said Trooper James Proctor. It was right on the line between Montezuma County and the Ute Mountain Ute tribe.

An unattended vehicle fire on the side of the road “is pretty out of the ordinary,” Proctor said.

The westbound car appeared to have been involved in a small crash and had hit a road sign.

Traffic was held up in both directions while the fire was quickly put out with a combination of foam and water, Borden said. It had not spread beyond the car. How the fire started was not known. An engine crew of four firefighters responded along with Borden.

Three Colorado State Patrol troopers, Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office deputy, and Cortez police officers also responded to the incident. No injuries were reported.

While the incident was investigated, traffic was held up in both directions for about 15 minutes. The case is currently under investigation.

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