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72-year-old driver OK after fleeing burning minivan

Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

A 72-year-old Detroit man bailed out of his minivan as it burst into flames Tuesday near Wayne State University’s campus.

“I was driving and this guy honked his horn for me to stop,” said William Jackson of the incident on Forest near Second.

The other motorist motioned to the back of Jackson’s Chrysler Voyager, which was on fire.

“I tried to stop but the brakes didn’t want to work so I had to run into the curb,” said Jackson, leaning on a cane and clutching a vehicle jump-starter kit as firefighters doused the heavily smoking vehicle.

“If he hadn’t said anything, I would have been hit (by the flames).”

Instead, Jackson walked away from his vehicle unscathed.

A witness described the scene as a “fireball” engulfing the minivan.

“The whole thing was on fire,” said Wayne State student Lisa Li. “It was a huge fireball, like out of a movie.”

The good Samaritan who alerted Jackson stayed at the scene and called 911, according to Jackson.

Firefighters spent about 45 minutes extinguishing the blaze before a tow truck arrived to haul away the unrecognizable van.

The cause of the fire remained unknown.