Electrical short leads to car fires | AspenTimes.com

Electrical short leads to car fires

Three cars were gutted at the Lazy Glen Trailer Park at about 2 a.m. Thursday after the Subaru Legacy wagon on the left caught fire because of an electrical problem. The fire spread to the Subaru Outback on the right and to a Honda CRX, not visible on the left. The trailer and the pickup on the far right suffered heat damage. Photo courtesy the Basalt Fire Department.
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Lazy Glen Trailer Park residents were jolted awake about 2 a.m. Thursday when a parked car with an electrical problem caught fire. By the time the flames were extinguished two other vehicles had been destroyed and a home threatened.Scared residents reported hearing two loud pops at different times from two of the burning vehicles when the gas tanks erupted, according to park manager Bo Bokenko. The gas tanks didn’t exactly explode, he said, but “they made a whoomp sort of sound.”Basalt firefighters responded with three trucks and doused the blazes. All three cars are totaled, said Fire Chief Scott Thompson. He said the flames singed the skirt of the trailer home and the pick-up of a neighbor.The dramatic car explosions that are always in the movies can occur, but they are rare, Thompson said. “The gas tanks don’t really explode, but they vent,” he said.

The three cars that were destroyed – an older model Subaru Legacy wagon, a newer Subaru Outback and a Honda CRX – all belonged to residents at space 33. They were parked a few feet apart.Richard Gomez, a resident there, said he got home about 7:45 p.m. Wednesday with the Subaru Legacy. He went outside for a smoke at 9 or 10 p.m. and saw that the headlights were still on. He wasn’t able to turn them off.”I left them on and figured the battery would run down,” Gomez said.Instead, an electrical short was created and the fire resulted. Gomez said a man who lives next door banged on the windows of the trailer about 2 a.m. and warned him, his fiancée, their daughter and his fiancée’s mother to get out of the home. They exited the back, frightened but unhurt.

“It was scary, scary stuff,” Gomez said.Bokenko said the fire and sounds stirred people immediately around trailer space 33, but he didn’t hear the commotion where he lives about three blocks away.”People were calling and saying there are cars on fire,” Bokenko said. “I told them, ‘Call the fire department, don’t call me.’ “He called 911, but dispatch had already received calls about the fire.

Nothing remained but a burned shell of the Subaru Legacy. Even the tires were burned off. The Outback was in slightly better condition. The tires and the patches of silverish paint were visible on the side farthest from the Legacy. The red Honda was torched on one side.The fire was hot enough to melt the molding on the neighbor’s pickup.Thompson said flames licked a fence, but the trailer was never on fire.Gomez said he and his future mother-in-law don’t know yet how much of the damage will be covered by insurance.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is scondon@aspentimes.com.


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