Wednesday, August 10, 2011


This is what's left when a car's engine burns up. We're waiting for the tow truck, which will take it to where the claims adjuster can examine it. What we learned so far:

  • In any emergency, the first thing to do is call 911. Do it before you do anything else.
  • Hybrid cars have a lot of high-voltage components, which the industry marks in orange, and fire-fighters have special training to deal with them.
  • Because of this hybrid car fires can be especially hazardous until the battery is disconnected.
  • Water is still the best thing to use, or a fire extinguisher. Car batteries are DC current, not AC, and so there is no danger of the current traveling up the water stream.
  • We did the right thing to pop the hood release, even though we did not unlatch and lift the hood - this provided a vent for the heat, and made it easier for the firefighters.
  • There's a reason every building in LA is covered in stucco. The stucco ceiling of our carport saved our house.
  • A couple of minutes sure seems to take a real long time while you're watching something burn.
Towing it is a little more complicated than we thought - because it is front wheel drive, and the front is where the fire was, the tow-truck driver couldn't get the car out of Park. Now we have to wait for a mechanic to come and take the gear box apart. UPDATE: The mechanic was unsuccessful, since a lot of parts have melted. He did suggest just dragging the car onto the flat-bed, because, as we realized, it's not like we care about it being damaged.

But now our notorious Topanga driveway has complicated the issue. Mechanic number one called mechanic number two for assistance, but mechanic number two's truck is too low to get over the hump at the top of our steep driveway. We need mechanic number one's truck, which can make it down without bottoming out. Sigh.

We don't know for certain, but it's highly likely that the cause was an electrical fire. There's a lot of high voltage under a hybrid's hood.  I hope they'll find out more information when the examine it.

And just to repeat - In any emergency, the first thing to do is call 911.


annie said...

Is this related to the varmints?

Aunt Snow said...

We're waiting for the insurance co. investigation, annie, but I'm wondering that very thing.

SUEB0B said...

Wow, scary. Glad you two and dear Jack are okay and still housed.

JCK said...

The picture is really scary. So glad you all and the house are good. Hugs your way...

Cheri @ Blog This Mom!® said...

I am so glad you're okay. How frightening and frustrating.

OMG. I didn't know this stuff about hybrids. I just bought one, so I really appreciate the info.

Sending good adjuster vibes your way.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Oh, g., these have been worrisome days, with the car fire and your son near the riots in London. I'm so glad things have turned out well.

Years ago, my two younger brothers and one of my cousins were driving home from school when the car burst into flames. They got out alright, but the car was a total loss.

True to the family's smart-aleck nature, when the state trooper asked him if he had his license, without missing a beat he said, "It's in the glove compartment."

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...


"Glove compartment indeed."

Mrs. G. said...

Holy hell! What a rotton, stinking drag. I'm so glad you, Chris and your house are intact!

Another Kiwi said...

Scary stuff, Aunt Snow. I think the Rattus will be implicated in some way.
I'm glad you are all safe

Lala said...

Having read these posts in succession, I'd say its a good thing you actually documented the whole saga here. Seems like a no brainer it was the rat bastards in the wiring that caused the fire! Glad you caught it in time, and saved the house! Sheesh!

Sharon said...

Glad you're okay--and the house. What a scare you had!