DALLAS - Driving through flooded streets is almost always a mistake. But if you make that choice, and then your water-logged car suddenly sparks an electrical fire, being flooded-out in front of a heavy equipment dealership is probably a fairly good idea.
It happened to Nikki Carmona. Hers was one of four vehicles stalled out on Manana Drive in front of Bane Machinery. The water was only a foot deep when she got stranded but hip deep by the time the flood reached its height.
“A vehicle stopped in front of me. And when I stopped, the car started smoking inside,” Carmona said of the smoke that started pouring out of her hood and dashboard.
She got out and waded to the side of the road and while she was seeking cover from the rain didn’t see what happened next.
But the folks across the street at Bane Machinery did, and captured their own general manager’s heroics on cell phone video. He hopped into one of their front-end loaders, dipped the front bucket into the water and poured a torrent onto the burning Mercedes, twice, just to make sure it was out. The Dallas Fire Department arrived seconds later.
“We pretty much shut down for a while. It was pretty entertaining there for a little bit,” said Samantha Johnson at Bane Machinery who along with co-workers Gina Smith and owner Scott Bane watched the spectacle from the safety of their front porch several feet above the flood.
“He just jumped out there and put it out. Didn’t hesitate and was happy to do it,” Scott Bane said of his general manager.
Jennifer Hopkins was in one of the other flooded cars, the burning Mercedes behind her. But she didn’t see it or the Bane front-end loader that put it out, because her car was filling with water and her windows fogging up.
“I would rather be somewhere else,” she laughed as other drivers helped her use plastic cups and coffee mugs to bail water out of her car floor boards. “But these people are really helpful.
So, clearly, here on Manana Drive, lessons were learned on a rainy Friday afternoon. First, front-end loaders are great at putting out car fires.
And the next lesson?
“Turn around don’t drown,” Samantha and Gina said in unison from the Bane front porch.
But perhaps Deby Elliott waiting for a tow truck in flooded car number four, put it best.
“I think the lesson would be is that it just happens so fast,” she said.
That lesson, and then she offered this one too.
“It kind of enlightened me to the fact how come I always call the people idiots that drive in high water. And OK I feel little bit like an idiot right now.”
Maybe, but at least this time there was a really big tractor at the ready to keep this Friday from getting even worse.
On your mobile device? Click here to watch the video from WFAA viewer Gina Smith.