A Fiery Mystery in the Parking Lot


Rachael McDonald

The only thing fire fighters know is that the fire started on the drivers side.

On the morning of September 18th, Heather Mower picked her car up before school from the Green Valley Garage. The car, a 2004 Pontiac Grand Prix, had been previously worked on for ABS (anti-lock braking system) problems.

The car was driving fine on her way to school and she did not notice anything wrong with her car when she parked it in the parking lot. Fifteen minutes into the school day, she saw, from her classroom on the top level of the B wing, white smoke billowing from the auditorium parking lot. Mower thought to herself, “I’m so glad that’s not my car.”

Meanwhile, Michael Chavez, Assistant Principal, got a call from the operations staff about a car fire in the parking lot. A parent noticed the fire and had already called 911, so fire trucks were on the way to the school.

He walked out to the fire to assess the situation and watched as the firefighters tried to put out the fire. The heat from the fire had melted the hood of the car shut, so the emergency personnel could not get under the hood to put the fire out.

They broke the window open to see if they could pop the hood from the inside, but had no luck. With no other choice, the firefighters pried the hood open. The only thing that they could verify is that the fire started on the driver’s side of the car.

Chavez called down Josh Fleisher, whose car was parked next to Mower’s. His car was fine, but they asked him to move his car to a location away from the fire.

The Fire Marshall came to take pictures of the damaged Grand Prix and then had it towed away for further evaluation to determine the cause of the fire. The car was too charred to determine the cause at the scene.

It is still unsure if insurance will cover the cost to replace the car.