No one at the scene knew how a car being towed behind a motor home caught fire Friday, but it did.

And though the occupants of the motor home didn’t notice what was going on behind them as they drove on U.S. 90 in East Milton, other motorists did.

One of those motorists happened to be Santa Rosa sheriff’s Sgt. Scott Haines.

“By the time they stopped and I got out with the fire extinguisher, flames were shooting up from the car,” Haines said at the scene. The sergeant called into his dispatcher before stopping, so members of the East Milton Fire Department were at his side in no time. In just a few minutes, the fire was out.

Muriel Pomeroy said she and her husband, Lee, were traveling from California to Coral Gables and stopped in Santa Rosa County at the KOA Campgrounds on Highway 87 South the night before.

“We already noticed how nice everyone here is, but after this, well ...” she said.

The car was attached by a tow bar, putting it just a couple of feet from the back of motor home. With an easterly wind, Mother Nature lent to the good outcome.

“If the wind had been blowing the other direction,” Haines said, “it could have been a lot worse.”

Though the car appeared to sustain serious damage on the front end and motor, wrapped Christmas presents being stored in the car remained safe. Lee Pomeroy worked diligently to move them to safety in the motor home.

Haines told Muriel Pomeroy her vehicle would be towed by a local company, and then insurance would take care of the rest. “You can continue on your trip,” he said.

Muriel said she had not met so many nice people in one town before.

“We loved your downtown light decorations,” she said. “It looks like a small town should look ... like the movie ‘It’s a wonderful life.’”

Haines said it was fortunate for the couple that the fire happened with a deputy behind them, a half-mile from the fire station.

“Smoke was visible for about a mile before they stopped,” he said. “It could have been so much worse.”