Homeowner says exploding car sparked blaze, cut power

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A fire broke out behind this home on Avery Avenue around noon Thursday.

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Midtown woman said she’s giving all the glory to God after barely escaping a fire at her home Thursday.

Memphis fire crews and MLGW were on the scene at Avery Avenue and Roberta, where a structure behind the home burned.

The homeowner said her 1993 Dodge Caravan has been getting work done on it for two months by a relative, and it blew up in her garage around noon. She said she was stopping the car and restarting it when it started smoking.

She barely made it out of the house. She said it caused a power outage in the neighborhood.

“I barely got out alive," Carole Mestemacher said. “I mean it engulfed immediately. If I hadn’t gotten out when I did, I would’ve been in a blaze.”

After about a minute of it being on, smoke blew out of the front.

Mestemacher said she grabbed her walker, purse and phone and moved out of the garage as quickly as she could with her disability.

She said just as she got away, “it exploded and engulfed immediately.” She credited her neighbors and a woman driving by for helping her get to safety and keeping her comfortable while around 20 firefighters put out the fire.

“All my neighbors have been so good to me," she said. "It hasn’t hit me yet. It’s been too much excitement.”

Thankfully, the wind didn’t blow the fire toward the house.

“I owe it all to God because the wind was blowing southerly and not westerly, or it could’ve affected the house," Mestemacher said.

Fire crews said the flames burned a power line above the garage. MLGW said that caused her power and a neighbor’s to go out.

No damage was done beyond the garage.

“God has blessed me with my life and my house," Mestemacher said.

MLGW crews were out Thursday at the house fixing the power line.

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