Car fire in Traer swiftly stopped by local responders

Members of the Traer Fire Department gather around a Chevy Camaro located at the west end of Second Street on May 12, moments after extinguishing a fire in the vehicle. –Photo by Soren M. Peterson

A car fire was quickly put out last Thursday afternoon in downtown Traer thanks to the swift response of the Traer Fire Department.

Shortly after 3:00 p.m. on May 12, an older Chevy Camaro which had been driven around town earlier in the day by its owner – while no doubt finally enjoying the summer weather – experienced a heat issue within its firewall, according to Traer Fire Chief Tyler Sell, leading to an incredible amount of smoke.

The car was located at the very west end of Second Street – parked in the middle of the street, facing northwest – when firefighters responded.

According to a Tama County Sheriff’s Deputy on scene, firefighters were able to both respond and extinguish the fire quickly.

There were no injuries, according to Chief Sell, and although he was unsure if the Camaro would be salvageable, he said “car fires are normally devastating as it burns all the wiring and plastic parts.”


Traer Fire had been able to respond so swiftly, the chief said, in part due to having already mobilized for a grass fire call roughly 20 minutes ahead of the car fire – a call which turned out to be a controlled burn.

Even with the incredible winds Iowa has seen this spring, Chief Sell said the department has “thankfully … not had an excessive amount of grass fires this year.”

Downtown business Pillar Insurance, which is located at 526 Second Street, put it best in a Facebook video post of the fire, writing, “This is why small towns need volunteer firefighters. Traer [F]ire crew was on the scene quickly.”

The Telegraph agrees wholeheartedly.