GARDINER – Traffic on the Maine Turnpike snarled for more than half an hour Saturday because of a car fire in the northbound lane, officials said.

State police said no one was injured in the late-afternoon fire near Mile 106 on the Turnpike, but traffic was backed up for more than five miles as emergency crews cleared the scene.

One traveler said the highway resembled a “block party” as drivers and passengers of the stopped vehicles got out to wait. A state police dispatcher said no one was sure what caused the fire, which was reported around 4 p.m. Two other car fires were reported earlier in the day on the Turnpike: one in the northbound lane between Kennebunk and Biddeford and one in the southbound lane.

The dispatcher speculated that the fires could have been caused by overheated engines, given the day’s sunny, hot weather.

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