At 5:51 p.m. on Friday evening, Fairfield’s Emergency Communications Center began receiving a report of a vehicle fire on the Merritt Parkway, Southbound in “no man’s land” between exit 44 and 42. Following their automatic mutual aid policy for this difficult to access area of the Merritt Parkway, Fairfield and Westport Firefighters responded together.
Fairfield Engine 5 was the first unit to arrive on scene and reported a 2008 Nissan Altima heavily involved in fire. The vehicle’s owner, Ellis Gitlin, of New City, N.Y., told firefighters that his car engine began to run very rough so he pulled over to the side of the road. As he exited the vehicle, heavy black smoke began to pour out from under the hood. By the time firefighters arrived the car was heavily involved in fire.
The fire occurred southbound on the Merritt Parkway approximately 1/2 mile North of the Merwins Road overpass. Fairfield Lt. Laurie Jepsen and the crew of Engine 5 extinguished the fire. They were assisted by Westport firefighters.
Southbound traffic was reduced to a single lane for approximately one hour while firefighters completed extinguishment efforts and the scene was stabilized. No injuries reported.