It was a case of classic car tragedy and selflessness, when a a Ferrari that burst into flames at a Bay Area gas station somehow managed to drive itself away from the pumps before a more serious explosion occurred.
Until last night, Al Cui was the owner of a 1978 Ferrari 308 GTS, a model perhaps best-known as the car driven by Hawaiian private investigator Thomas Magnum on the eponymous show Magnum P.I.
Cui had just finished fueling up at a Martinez gas station at 7:02 last night when, he tells CBS5, he saw a spark.
“I turned to look, and realized flames were erupting from above the engine, so I immediately grabbed the fire extinguisher to put it out,” Cui says.
But the fire extinguisher was no help with the combustable mix of gasoline, fire, and 70s Italian engineering, and the vehicle "exploded" just inches from the gas pump.
We've all seen movies, so we know how this goes, right? Next to go will be the pump, then the whole damn block. Not so in this case! The car somehow managed to save the day, even in its final moments, as "the Ferrari started rolling itself away from the gas station, and into the street," CBS5 reports.
“I had it in gear," Cui says, "but I think the car got hot enough that it must have popped something into place and the car ended up rolling into the street." That, or your car loves you enough to save your life, Al!
Contra Costa County Fire Protection District Battalion Chief Mike Eglite confirms the crazy story to KRON4, saying that “As far-fetched as that may sound," the car did indeed drive itself away from the pumps.
In a scene Eglite describes as “almost like a scene out of Back to the Future," the car rolled down a slight grade, across two lanes of traffic and onto the center median of the street before firefighters extinguished the blaze.
Cui says that he's grateful that the car drove itself off, since "as you can see it could have flamed up this gas station and would have been an ugly scene.”
“It was a nice car," he says. “I’m gonna see if I can get another one.”