Thursday, July 1, 2010 - 3:21pm
A two-car garage and a minivan parked inside of it were destroyed by fire tonight at 1820 Baird Street. Firefighters were dispatched at 5:19 PM and found the garage fully engulfed in flames when the first apparatus arrived at 5:25 PM. The fire was quickly brought under control, but the heat from the flames had already damaged nearby trees and a fence. The heat was intense enough to damage the paint on a car and a garage located across the alley from the fire.
Witnesses saw flames coming from the minivan first and then the fire spread to the garage. A fire investigator is on the scene looking for the cause of the vehicle fire.
The fire caused approximately $40,000 damage. No injuries were reported at the fire scene.
According the National Fire Protection Association, about three-quarters of all highway vehicles fires are the result of mechanical or electrical failures or malfunctions. Vehicle maintenance is crucial to preventing vehicle fires. The American Automobile Association offers these tips:
• Have your vehicles inspected at least annually by a trained, professional technician.
• Watch for fluid leaks under vehicles, cracked or blistered hoses, or wiring that is loose, or has cracked insulation. Have any of these conditions inspected and repaired as soon as possible.
• Be alert to changes in the way your vehicle sounds when running, or to a visible plume of exhaust coming from the tailpipe. A louder than usual exhaust tone, smoke coming from the tailpipe or a backfiring exhaust could indicate a problem. Have vehicles inspected and repaired as soon as possible if exhaust or emission control problems are suspected.
• Avoid smoking. If you must smoke, use your vehicle ashtray.
• Drive according to posted speed limits and other traffic rules. Remain alert to changing road conditions at all times.
If a fire occurs:
• Stop - If possible, pull to the side of the road and turn off the ignition. Pulling to the side makes it possible for everyone to get out of the vehicle safely. Turn off the ignition to shut off the electric current and stop the flow of gasoline. Put the vehicle in park or set the emergency brake; you don't want the vehicle to move after you leave it. Keep the hood closed because more oxygen can make the fire larger.
• Get Out - Make sure everyone gets out of the vehicle. Then move at least 100 feet away. Keep traffic in mind and keep everyone together. There is not only danger from the fire, but also from other vehicles moving in the area.
• Call for Help - Call 9-1-1 for assistance. Never return to the vehicle to attempt to fight the fire yourself. Extinguishing a vehicle fire can be very dangerous without the proper protective equipment.
- Eric Dahl, 608-279-7148