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Van Towing Food Cart Bursts into Flames in Financial District

By  Ben Fractenberg and Nicole Bode | September 19, 2012 10:23pm 

FINANCIAL DISTRICT — A minivan hauling a Gyro King food cart burst into flames in the Financial District Wednesday night.

The incident happened at the intersection of Fulton and Gold streets when smoke started to come out of the hood of the minivan towing the cart.

When the owner, Amad Nazir, pulled over to the side of the street and popped the hood, flames burst out of the front of the vehicle.

"We were waiting for the green light," said Nazir. "The engine started smoking. We turned right. I pulled onto the side [of the street]. I was trying to open the hood. Within in five seconds, fire."

Nazir's coworker, who was in the van with him, immediately called 911, and the fire department showed up at the scene within minutes.

At least a dozen firefighters sprayed flame retardant onto the hood of the vehicle, quickly putting out the blaze and sending billows of smoke into the air.

The fire was loud enough to startle Gold Street resident Ana Almonte, 63, who was in her apartment.

"I heard 'boom,'" said Almonte, who looked out her window to see what was going on. "I saw fire from the front [of the car]. I put on my clothes. I came down. There was a lot of smoke."

Luckily, neither the driver or his coworker were hurt by the fire.

When asked what he thought could have caused the flames, Nazir pointed toward a puddle of motor oil at the intersection where the van started smoking.

"It's old. I don't know," he said.