Garage fire destroys classic car in St. George, causes over $200K in damage, authorities say

ST. GEORGE — A classic vehicle caught fire and prompted a St. George Fire Department response on Tuesday night.

Smoke bellows from a garage in St. George, Utah, May 11, 2021 | Photo by Rich Allen, St. George News

The vehicle was the source of flames in a detached garage of an eastern St. George residence on 2300 S. Circle around 8 p.m., St. George Fire Department Battalion Chief Robert Hooper told St. George News. No injuries were reported. The garage’s structure was preserved but with extensive smoke damage. The fire did not extend into the attic of the garage or affect any neighboring buildings, including the main house on the property.

The car, which Hooper said was a 1972 El Camino, was destroyed. Hooper guessed the total damage from the blaze to be between $200,000 and $300,000. The exact cause of the fire is under investigation, but does not appear to be “suspicious,” he added.

“It was a very nice car,” Hooper said. “The car is what was on fire. It’s always hard to determine (the cause) of a vehicle fire because it gets so hot and so heavily involved. You just can’t determine what it is.”

The owner of the car and property reportedly was able to stall the spread of the blaze with a garden hose from a safe distance until firefighters arrived. Hooper said this aided in fighting the fire.

A St. George Fire engine on scene at a garage fire in St. George, Utah, May 11, 2021 | Photo by Rich Allen, St. George News

Hooper also said that the owner kept one of the two large garage doors shut, which runs contrary to instincts and actually helps the fire grow.

“A lot of times people want to open all the doors and windows and all that does is just feed the fire,” Hooper said.

Five engines, one ladder, one squad car and 21 firefighters responded due to the size of the dwelling, Hooper said. He added that the garage is approximately 1,500 square feet. Gold Cross Ambulance also was on scene.

While the cause is still under investigation, Hooper did have some advice to at least limit the risk of vehicle fires.

“Make sure they’re serviced regularly,” Hooper said. “Make sure you don’t leave things plugged in: external battery chargers, anything. Gas cans in your vehicle, spilled gas in the shop, keeping a clean space. Not saying this was any of those at all, but if you’re looking to prevent something, those are good things to be aware of.”

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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