Ellis Gitlin of New City, N.Y., told firefighters he was driving southbound on the Merritt when his cars engine began to run roughly. He pulled over between exits 44 and 42, a difficult are to reach for emergency crews from Fairfield and Westport. As soon as Gitlin left his car, heavy black smoke began to pour out from the engine. By the time firefighters arrived, the entire front half of the car was covered in flames.
Fairfields Engine Crew 5, led by Lt. Laurie Jepsen, was the first on the scene and managed to control the fire. Emergency responders from Westport and Fairfield closed one lane of the Merritt for about an hour while clearing the wreckage.
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