Family exits burning car just before it explodes on the street

BLOOMFIELD, NJ — A 2001 Audi A6 caught fire Friday afternoon on Ward Street and two Bloomfield residents escaped with their 3-year-old girl before the vehicle exploded.

According to the car owner, Eric Medina, 24, the original trouble began when the car had to be towed after the engine stopped running at a light in Bloomfield. Three weeks later, with a new fuel pump installed, the couple returned to the dealer.

After retrieving their car, Medina and Denisha Washington, 23, who was driving the car, headed back to Bloomfield with their child, Jaila, who was asleep in the back seat. They took Route 3 to the Garden State Parkway. Medina said he smelled something unusual but thought it was coming from another vehicle on the road.

A closeup of the damage after the Bloomfield Fire Department had extinguished the flames.

When they arrived in Bloomfield, Medina said the couple decided to stop at a car mechanic on Ward Street to have the car checked. With smoke coming from the engine compartment, the couple got out of the car and noticed flames underneath the chassis. Medina took the child from the backseat and went inside a business on Clark Street, away from the sight of the burning car, because the girl was frightened.

“Everybody was screaming,” he said.
According to Washington, who was recording the catastrophe, the car then exploded. The Bloomfield Fire Department arrived and extinguished the fire.

Still on the street at the fire, Washington took her phone and called the business that had just serviced the car. After a brief conversation, the officer on the scene, Bloomfield Police Officer Looges, took the phone.

“You understand the vehicle was fully engulfed in flames?” Looges asked the dealer’s representative. “The fire department had to come. The windows are broken and everything is melted.”

Eric Medina, who is holding baby Jaila, and Denisha Washington, after their vehicle exploded on a Bloomfield street last week.

In a telephone interview earlier this week, Washington said the car was towed back to the automotive business that installed the fuel pump. She said her daughter was “a little traumatized.”

“She doesn’t know what to expect next,” she said. “She’s always crying. She was definitely not like this before.”
Washington said the automotive business told her to contact her insurance company and that it would contact their insurance representative.