A total of six cars were burned, including 4 that were a total loss, following a fire in the parking lot of Pine Needle Plaza on North Brightleaf Boulevard in Smithfield Wednesday afternoon.
The fire was reported around 1pm.
Officials said a car ran over a cardboard box in the roadway and the box became lodged underneath the vehicle. The driver, who soon noticed a burning smell, stopped her car in a parking space in front of Edwards IGA and went inside to try and get something to remove the box.
When she came back outside her car was fully engulfed in flames.
The fire quickly spread to 5 other parked vehicles. A total of 4 cars were totally destroyed. Two others were still drivable.
Assistant Johnston County Fire Marshal Banks Wallace ruled the fire accidental. He placed the damage estimate to the cars at about $60,000.
The Smithfield Fire Department was credited for quickly extinguishing the burning vehicles to prevent the fire from spreading to more cars. Photos courtesy JoCoFire.com