Towering Black Smoke At Sun 'n Fun -- Not What You Fear

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Early yesterday afternoon, a thick black smoke plume arose behind the trees just off the main show area at Sun 'n Fun... not far from the flight pattern. Heads turned, and worried showgoers asked passing aviation reporters who had crashed. The good news was, nobody had crashed. The bad news was, 24 cars in the parking lot had burned down to twisted black hunks of charred wreckage. It all started with heat generated from the catalytic converter beneath a low-slung Masserati, parked in one of the many grass lots. There's been a dry spell here in central Florida, and that grass is about as dry and ready to burn as it can get. With thousands of cars parked door to door, gasoline and even propane everywhere, it was a challenge for firefighters to contain the blaze. Nobody was hurt.