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Car’s hot exhaust ignites grass fire

By Staff | Apr 5, 2012

A vehicle left running outside of a Cape Coral home Tuesday apparently started a grass fire that caused approximately $7,200 in damages.

At about 8:02 a.m., a Cape police officer observed a 2000 Buick sedan on fire at 13 Tropicana Parkway, W. After calling for backup, he tried to put out the fire with his department-issued fire extinguisher, according to reports.

Unable to extinguish it, he made contact with the home’s occupants.

The owner of the Buick told the officer that he turned the vehicle on at 8 a.m. to charge the battery because he intended to do some work on the car. He explained that the vehicle is notorious for losing its full battery charge.

The man then returned inside to wait for the car battery to charge.

Cape firefighters arrived on scene and extinguished the fire.

No one was injured in the incident, according to reports.

Battalion Chief Alan Carter of the Cape fire department said the police officer’s attempt to put out the flames was not entirely unsuccessful.

“He attempted extinguishment with a fire extinguisher, which retarded the fire and helped minimize loss to structure,” he said.

An investigation determined that there is an estimated $6,675 in damage to the car and $500 in structural damage. The fire’s cause is “unintentional.”

According to officials, the heat source was the hot exhaust and catalytic converter of the running vehicle, originating at the rear undercarriage.

“The vehicle was parked over very dry grass and was left running for approximately 30 minutes,” Carter said. “The owner was inside the house, leaving the running vehicle unattended.”