Parade attendees in Cayucos saw an unexpected display of Fourth of July flames when a patriotic Jeep caught fire around 11 a.m.
The Cayucos Fire Department was already nearby, as volunteers had two engines and a rescue vehicle participating in the festivities.
"It was reported as a parade float on fire," reserve firefighter Kayla Pedrani said. "We saw a ton of smoke."
Firefighters responded and found the fire was already put out, she said.
The car is well-known to regulars of Cayucos Independence Day Festivities. The entry from Mutt and Jeff's Pig Farm has been a crowd favorite.
The tires of the green Jeep are painted red, white and blue, it's adorned with American flags, and ridden by a charismatic Uncle Sam. In previous years, the smoke and fire shooting from the vehicle were intentional and controlled.
"The float had fire coming out of it, so that's what we thought people were reporting. I guess it actually caught on fire," Pedrani said.
Reporter Garvin Thomas with NBC Bay Area captured a video of the scene and posted it on Facebook, saying that he caught the moment just before people realized the flames were unintentional.