Classic Caddy Explodes, House Spared

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A car fire left one Payson resident stumped and a little heartbroken Monday morning.

Bill Felton hadn't started his 1967 Cadillac DeVille for nearly a month when he decided to take it for a drive Monday.

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Firefighters work to control a car fire Monday morning on North Colcord Road. The car, a red Cadillac convertible, started smoking when its owner, Bill Felton, started it and began backing it out of his driveway.

"I have no idea (what happened)," Felton said. "I started it, left it running for a minute and began backing out when boom! I saw fire and smoke, so I grabbed the keys and got the hell out of there and called 911."

Three trucks from the Payson Fire Department and a fleet of firefighters responded to his call for help in the 800 block of north Concord Road.

After about a half hour of trying to pry open the hood -- where the explosion took place -- reverting to the jaws of life, dousing the car with water and peering through billowing smoke, firefighters had the fire under control.

"I hope the top wasn't damaged," Felton said forlornly.

He had recently added the new white top to the red convertible and was planning on restoring it before the fire occurred.

"She runs fine," Felton said. "It was just like it came out of the factory ... I loved it. It was a great machine."

Felton said his car is insured and that he plans to call an appraiser to estimate the damages.

"It may be very close to its value ... $15,000. That car restored is $22,000," he added.

Felton owned the car for almost 20 years before the accident.

"It needed a new paint job before today," he said. "Today it needs quite a bit more."

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