Neighbors wake up to flames from unusual fire in Bexar County sheriff’s patrol car

Fire believed to be caused by flares that ignited in trunk

A strong smell of gasoline remains on a cul de sac in Northeast Bexar County as a pungent reminder of the drama that unfolded there early Wednesday morning.
A strong smell of gasoline remains on a cul de sac in Northeast Bexar County as a pungent reminder of the drama that unfolded there early Wednesday morning.

SAN ANTONIO – A strong smell of gasoline remains on a cul de sac in Northeast Bexar County as a pungent reminder of the drama that unfolded there early Wednesday morning.

Bexar County sheriff’s deputies who were at the scene in the 5400 block of Wood Glen Drive said a patrol car went up in flames after a box of flares in the trunk somehow ignited before 4 a.m.

RELATED: BCSO patrol car goes up in flames, burns during traffic stop

The deputy who had been driving that vehicle was standing outside at the time, talking to a driver who he had stopped inside the gated neighborhood for a traffic violation.

“First thing I thought it was mine but then it comes out it was Bexar County sheriff vehicle,” said Gilbert Rocha, who lives on that cul de sac. “(The flames) were at least, like, 20 feet when I woke up.”

All of this happened in Rocha’s driveway.

The heat from the fire was so intense that it melted a trash can. (KSAT 12 News)

He told another neighbor he was unable to leave his home because the heat from the fire caused his front door to be hot to the touch.

It also melted his trash can and turned the normally clear lights cloudy on the back of his car.

“Yeah, it looks like snow,” he said, pointing to the damaged lights.

The normally clear tail lights on Gilbert Rocha's car were turned a cloudy white due to the heat of the fire. (KSAT 12 News)

Todd Wyant, meanwhile, stayed inside his home across the way out of safety concerns.

He says he heard popping noises that raised a red flag in his mind.

“At that point I just got the family toward the center of the house, knowing that it was probably ammunition going off inside the vehicle,” Wyant said. “You could definitely hear the flares going off too, rushing noises.”

The fire left the ground scorched and soaked in gasoline from the burning car. (KSAT 12 News)

No one, including the deputy who had been driving the car, was hurt.

The fire scorched the street and left it soaked in gasoline from the burning patrol car.

Firefighters were called in and did their best to clean up the mess.

However, the smell of the fuel persisted hours later.


About the Authors:

Katrina Webber was born and raised in Queens, NY, but after living in Gulf Coast states for the past decade, she feels right at home in Texas.