An improvised heating device in use by the occupant of a vehicle sparked a Feb. 24 fire that consumed the vehicle, totaling it, according to investigators.
The investigation into the case is now closed, said Capital City Fire/Rescue fire marshal Dan Jager.
“(The call) came in around 6 p.m. that night,” Jager said in a phone interview. “Someone in the parking area noticed the fire and smoke.”
The occupant of the vehicle, a Chevy Blazer, had lit a homemade heating device fueled by denatured alcohol inside the vehicle.
“Apparently this person was doing this for a while prior to the fire happening,” Jager said. “In this case, when they lit it off, it had a hole it.”
The hole allowed burning liquid to leak out and drip down the side of the heater onto the center console, Jager said. The vehicle’s occupant attempted to extinguish the fire but spilled more burning alcohol on the interior of the vehicle, Jager said.
“With all that combustible material inside, that’s what had the fire gain intensity rather quickly,” Jager said.
CCFR responded and extinguished the fire, but the vehicle was totaled, Jager said. The occupant was unharmed and was able to retrieve some of their belongings before the vehicle was totally consumed, Jager said.
Jager cautioned that the safest heat source in a vehicle is the vehicle’s own heaters; anything else runs the risk of starting a fire, which, inside a vehicle, will go up quickly.
“Don’t bring in your own heat source. Don’t use anything with an open flame,” Jager said. “Even plug in heaters aren’t designed for use in a vehicle.”
Jager said no charges or citations were issued in connection with the fire.
• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or firstname.lastname@example.org.