Vehicle catches fire after driver smells smoke, pulls into parking lot

Scene of a vehicle fire at 1068 E. Riverside Drive, St. George, Utah, June 24, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Marianne Corpaci, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Firefighters responded to a vehicle fire Monday afternoon in St. George.

St. George Fire Chief Robert Stoker said the incident was reported at about 3:30 p.m. in a parking lot at 1068 E. Riverside Drive, with firefighters responding within minutes.

“Upon our arrival, we found a four-door sedan, a Volkswagen, heavily involved in the engine compartment just spreading into the passenger compartment,” Stoker told St. George News at the scene.

Stoker said the male driver of the car reported he had been driving on Riverside Drive when he smelled smoke and decided to pull into the parking lot. Stoker said the man was able to safely exit the vehicle and call for assistance.

Firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze quickly. There were no injuries reported.

“There were some other cars parked close, but it sounds like everybody got their vehicles moved away before there was any damage,” Stoker said. “We’ll check with those other car owners there and make sure there wasn’t any damage to their vehicles.”

Scene of a vehicle fire at 1068 E. Riverside Drive, St. George, Utah, June 24, 2019 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

The Volkswagen was destroyed and needed to be towed from the scene.

The heat from the fire also damaged a water pipe on an adjacent strip of landscaping, Stoker said.

“There’s a little bit of damage to some landscaping plumbing, with water leaks that we’re having a landscape company coming in and taking care of.”

Stoker said the cause of the fire hadn’t been determined yet, but “it looks like a mechanical failure in the engine somewhere.”

In addition to one engine company from St. George Fire Department, officers from St. George Police Department also responded.

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