Car fire in Rohnert Park backs up Hwy. 101 for miles

A 2014 BMW with only 7,000 miles on it burst into flames on the southbound side of Highway 101 in Rohnert Park on Thursday afternoon snarling the start of rush-hour traffic, according to the CHP.

The driver of the blue BMW sedan called emergency dispatch at about 3:20 p.m. after his battery failed while he was driving south on Highway 101. He pulled off to the side of the road just north of the Wilfred Avenue onramp and, he reported to dispatch, his engine began to emit smoke.

“As soon as we arrived, the car burst into flames,” said CHP spokesman Jon Sloat.

The incident occurred only a few hundred yards north of a single-car crash just after midnight Thursday that claimed the life of a 32-year-old Healdsburg man.

Sloat said a small area of vegetation on the side of the highway caught fire but the car and the brush fire were both put out within a few minutes. At 4:30 p.m., he said traffic was backed up about 7 miles from Hopper Avenue through downtown Santa Rosa. As of 6 p.m., traffic was flowing smoothly on southbound Highway 101 between Hopper Avenue in Santa Rosa and Rohnert Park.

You can reach Staff Writer Elizabeth M. Cosin at 521-5276 or

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