Vehicle warming up in garage as fire ignites

By Melissa Correa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) – A garage fire forced a Chesterfield family out of their home. The fire started around 8:00 Wednesday morning in the 5600 block of Fiddlers Ridge Lane. Investigators say someone was warming up their vehicle and left it unattended inside the garage.

Its one Wednesday neighbor Stephen Schmidt won't forget.

"There was about 8-9 foot flames shooting out of the garage," said Schmidt. "It took your breath away to see it in such a concentrated area."

A mini-van had caught fire. The homeowner left it running for about 10 minutes. The garage door was open.

"It's not common for a vehicle that's warming up, as long as it's well-maintained to start fire like that," said Chesterfield County Fire Marshal Ronnie Dawson.

Dawson says several flammable items positioned feet away from the flames, like a gas tank and a truck, could've played a role in the blaze that spread to the house.

"The house is not livable now," said Dawson.

Also trees and homes are nearby. Neighbors tonight are saying they're very lucky the fire didn't spread.

"To imagine that it happened to them, our hearts, I'm sure from everybody, goes out to them," said Schmidt.

Also going out tonight: a warning from firefighters. While it's rare that warming up your car will cause a fire, warming it up inside the garage could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.

"You can't smell it. You can't see it. You can't taste it. And it can overcome you pretty quick," Dawson said.

No one was injured in the fire. It's believed that the family is staying with relatives. Police say, on your property or not, it's never a safe idea to leave your car running unattended no matter the temperature.

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