MESQUITE – A man was in his parked vehicle unaware that it was on fire Sunday morning in Mesquite when a passerby rapped on his window to get him out of the burning SUV unharmed.
At 7:24 a.m. Sunday, Mesquite Fire and Rescue responded with its Engine 11, Rescue 11 and Engine 31 to notification of a vehicle fire “3 miles down the dirt road from the Virgin Valley Water District,” the department’s Capt. John Gately said in a statement released Monday.
The department’s Rescue 11 advised the other responding units that there was a large column of smoke rising from the area of Lime Kiln Road and White Rock Road.
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Video courtesy of Mesquite Fire and Rescue, St. George News
On arrival, Mesquite Engine 11 crews reported a large SUV fully involved with fire with a cargo trailer immediately behind it that was also in imminent danger from the fire.
Firefighters quickly knocked the fire down, Gately said, thereby limiting damage to the trailer to some very minor heat damage at the front of its exterior. The contents of the trailer were undamaged.
The vehicle owner was in the vehicle at the time the fire started.
“He knows he was parked,” Gately said, “that’s the last thing he remembers.”
The driver was alerted by a passerby who stopped to assist. “The way he put it was, ‘hey your vehicle’s overheated,'” Gately said, “and he got out and looked around and saw the engine compartment was on fire.”
Although significant damage to the vehicle makes it difficult to determine the exact cause of the fire, Gately said the theory is that the driver’s foot was pressing down on the gas pedal of the parked vehicle for a long time.
“We know it started in the engine and then traveled to the vehicle,” Gately said. The owner was suffering from an underlying medical issue, which makes sense with the theory of the pedal being pressed down and contributing to the ignition of the fire.
The man was evaluated at the scene and later transported by Mesquite Fire Rescue Paramedics to Mesa View Regional Hospital for evaluation. It is not believed that he suffered any injury as a result of the fire, Gately said.
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