Battery fire destroys van

Flames erupted from a battery and charger for radio-controlled airplanes and destroyed a van and part of a covered spectator area at the Jackson County Sports Park this morning.

The fire reported at about 9:30 a.m. started inside a van where a man was charging lithium polymer batteries while at Agate Skyways, a site on East Antelope Road near Agate Lake, Jackson County Fire District No. 3 Deputy Fire Marshal Don Hickman said. The owner of the van and batteries told fire investigators that the lightweight, rechargeable batteries favored by pilots of radio-controlled planes burn at temperatures over 2,000 degrees.

Hickman said the blaze rapidly ripped through the vehicle, a handicapped-accessible van valued at $46,000, and spread to a shelter available for spectators. Light winds and still-green grass kept it from racing across the fields, he said.

One fire truck and one water tanker responded to quell the flames. No one was injured.

— Anita Burke

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