Austin Nelson said he hadn’t experienced any trouble with his BMW in the three years he has owned it.
Then it burst into flames Tuesday afternoon as the lunch rush was ending at Gondola.
“I had just gone inside when I heard people asking about the owner of a white car,” said Nelson, who serves in the United States Air Force. “When I looked outside it was smoking pretty badly.”
The car burst into flames, causing a calamity as firefighters rushed to the scene.
“I just wanted to get outside and get to my car in case there was an explosion,” said Tisha Emberton, who was finishing her lunch inside Gondola.
Nelson said he had just returned from a trip to Murfreesboro and said the car was running fine. A former Gondola employee, he stopped in to see some old friends and grab a bite to eat. He was surprisingly composed as his vehicle suffered major fire damage.
“As long as I wasn’t in it and nobody was hurt, that’s all that matters to me,” said Nelson. “You can replace a car. I’m glad the people who were parked around it were able to get out of the way.”