The driver of a car that burst into flames on the Merritt Parkway in Fairfield escaped without injuries Friday evening.

The incident took place about 5:45 p.m. as a New York driver was traveling south in "no man's land" between Exits 44 and 42 when, he told Fairfield firefighters, the 2008 Nissan Altima's engine suddenly began to run very rough.

He pulled over to the side of the parkway as heavy black smoke started billowing from under the car's hood, and by the time the first firefighters arrived on the scene -- Fairfield Engine 5 -- flames had enveloped the vehicle. Westport firefighters also arrived on the scene to help Fairfield fire crews.

Southbound traffic on the parkway was reduced to a single lane for about an hour while emergency operations took place.

Assistant Fairfield Fire Chief George Gomola was the incident commander.