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Pascack Valley Daily Voice serves Emerson, Hillsdale, Montvale, Park Ridge, River Vale, Washington Township, Westwood & Woodcliff Lake

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DV Pilot police & fire

Used car bursts into flames same day woman bought it

Photo Credit: Courtesy Hillsdale PD

Buying a lemon is one thing, but having it burst into flames is another: A 20-year-old Ridgewood woman escaped with her life when the 1994 Honda she bought earlier in the day suddenly caught fire on the Garden State Parkway.


Hillsdale Police Chief Chip Stalter said emergency responders handled the incident successfully on a cold, snowy night. The out-of-luck driver will now find out just how potent New Jersey’s Lemon Law is.


PHOTO: Courtesy Hillsdale PD

Hillsdale officers Tom Smith, Jeff Angermeyer, and Bill Diedtrich found the car in flames on the shoulder of the parkway’s southbound lanes near the Hillsdale Avenue overpass around 11 p.m. Tuesday, Stalter said.

“While the New Jersey State Police supplies patrol coverage for the Garden State Parkway, the Hillsdale Police Department often assists State Troopers with a variety of emergencies along the highway, and whenever back-up or additional police resources are requested,” the chief said.

“There was no possibility” the officers could fight the flames with their extinguishers, Stalter said, so they made sure the woman was safe and closed the highway’s southbound lanes to allow firetrucks in. State Police also were on the scene.

The owner told police she bought the used car earlier that day and “did not detect any malfunctions until smoke began to fill the cabin of the vehicle while she traveled south on the Parkway.”

Stalter credited the work not only of the local responders but also of NJSP Garden State Parkway Troop E, under the direction of Major Kevin C. Burke, “for their continued cooperation, for their sharing of police resources, and, in general, the strong mutual aid ties that exist between” State Police and the local agencies.

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