Curry County Sheriff's Department released this photograph of a new patrol car burning. The cause of the fire, which started while a deputy was driving to a call, is undetermined.

Fire destroys Curry County patrol car

A Curry County Sheriff's Department car was destroyed by fire as a deputy drove to help a man who had fallen off some shoreline rocks near Humbug Mountain State Park.

The fall was reported shortly after 10 a.m. Sunday. Search and rescue, fire and ambulance crews, and a deputy were rushing to the aid of the man, Patrick Combs of Norman, Okla., who had fallen in an area known as Rocky Point north of Humbug Mountain, Curry County Sheriff John Bishop said in a news release.

Deputy Jared Gray was driving to the area near milepost 304 on Highway 101 when his 2010 Dodge Charger patrol car caught fire.

The car was acting strangely and two people who had seen him drive past called 9-1-1 to report flames coming from a patrol car, Bishop said.

Gray stopped as soon as he got to a place he could safely pull off the highway. He got out, grabbing his rifle, shotgun and flashlight from the burning car, Bishop said.

Gray and Port Orford police tried to put out the blaze with fire extinguishers, but the flames engulfed the car, destroying it before they could be quelled.

No one was injured, but the car — the newest in the department's fleet with only 6,000 miles on it — was a complete loss, Bishop said. He estimated the car, along with the radar, cameras, radios and other equipment inside it, was worth at least $36,000.

Oregon State Police and Port Orford police helped at the scene of the fire. Highway 101 was closed briefly while fire agencies battled the blaze.

The cause of the fire, which appeared to originate at the rear of the vehicle, is being investigated.

Combs was lifted to safety by fire and ambulance crews and taken to Curry General Hospital, where he was reportedly treated and released, Bishop said.

— Anita Burke

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