(Mankato, MN) – A fire destroyed a vehicle and backed up Highway 169 for miles on Friday afternoon.

Deputy Director of Public Safety Jeff Bengston fire crews were dispatched at 3: 07 p.m. Friday to Highway 169 near the exit ramp from Riverfront, where they found a Jeep fully engulfed in flames.  The occupants had escaped the vehicle by the time firefighters arrived on the scene.

Bengston said law enforcement assisted with blocking off the highway to make it safe for crews to work.  One lane of traffic was re-opened after the fire was put out.

Witnesses say traffic was backed up past the entrance for and onto Lookout Drive.

One observer said the Jeep was a charred shell by the time he passed, but police and fire trucks were still on the scene just before 3: 30 p.m.

The cause of the fire isn’t yet known.

There were no injuries reported and the vehicle was a total loss.

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