MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – It was a blazing scene in the drive thru of a Macon Burger King Friday morning after a car was burnt to a crisp.
Jerome Sampson buys the same breakfast almost everyday from the Burger King on Pio Nono Avenue: coffee, hash browns, and a sausage biscuit, but that order went up in smoke along with his car.
Shattered windows, melted tires, and a charred engine are all that remain of his vehicle. Sampson says he noticed something was wrong when pulled up to the drive-thru window and saw smoke seeping out from under the hood.
"When I raised the hood there was a small fire, something [that] easily could have been put out with a quart of water or something," Sampson said.
That small fire turned into a big blaze and caught the front half of the vehicle on fire and part of the restaurant.
"Must have been about 10 feet high, 10 or 12 feet high," Claude Greene, who was sitting inside the restaurant and saw the blaze, said. "The fire department got here in a real quick hurry and they did a real good job."
Sampson believes this would have never happened if the restaurant had a working fire extinguisher.
"A guy that works at this place came out with a fire extinguisher and it did not function and that's why the car just burn all up," he said.
But Macon-Bibb County fire officials say it's his faulty car to blame, not the extinguisher.
"[The car] had an electrical problem, caused the fire, also ignited the building on fire," Capt. Phillip Gordon said.
"Any severe damage inside?" 41NBC's Amanda Castro asked.
"There was quite a bit of smoke damage, that's why I have a food inspector checking out the situation," Gordon said.
Fire officials say it was a mechanical problem in the engine compartment, but Sampson says there was nothing wrong with his car.
Employees tried to help, but the store manager said by the time they got outside with the fire extinguisher it was too late—the car was engulfed. Sampson disagrees.
"It really could have been prevented," he said. "If the fire extinguisher was working, the building wouldn't have been damaged and also my car wouldn't have been burned up."
No one was hurt during the incident. Sampson says he is considering taking legal action.
Burger King officials say they will assess the damage, get repairs done, and re-open the restaurant as soon as they can.