Metro Vancouver fire: Car catches fire in busy parking lot

People should stay at least 30 metres away from a vehicle that is on fire.

The Surrey Fire Service (SFS) is stressing the importance of quick action after a car caught fire in a parking lot.  

On Thursday, June 16, Craigory Glendin says he was buying some supplies for work at the Salvation Army. When he returned to his car, there was “tons of smoke” in the parking lot on the northeast side of 80th and Scott Road.

“[I] got in my car, drove past, snapped a quick video,” explained the local man, adding that several people had called 911 before he arrived. 

“Firefighters were on the scene a minute after I stopped recording.”

Surrey Fire Services Deputy Chief John Lehmann tells Vancouver Is Awesome that the fire department received the call around 2:25 p.m. on Thursday afternoon.

Due to the proximity of the fire to surrounding buildings and trees, four firetrucks were dispatched to the scene. When the first truck arrived, however, firefighters confirmed that only the car was on fire and “no other structures or trees or other vehicles on fire,” explained Lehmann. The other trucks were sent away and firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze. 

What to do if you see a car on fire

In situations like these, the most important thing to do is to call 911.

“Just make sure that the fire department has the call and that they are responding,” Lehmann stressed. “And then to remain clear of the vehicle.

“There’s a very, very slim chance that the car will result in the car exploding…but there are other hazards associated with vehicles.”

Most vehicles now have energy-absorbing bumpers that involve the use of “an inert gas in a strut, which can overheat and send the bumpers flying,” notes Lehmann.

Tires may also pop and make a “loud banging noise,” among numerous other safety risks.

People should stay at least 30 metres away from a vehicle that is on fire.

Vancouver fire: Safety at home for Metro Vancouver residents

  • Make sure your smoke alarms are properly placed and functioning and test them twice a year.
  • Plan ahead with your family: create a fire escape plan, identify a common meeting area, and practice your plan so that everyone knows what to do.
  • Consider installing a spark arrestor on your chimney, and keep your chimney, roof surfaces, and gutters clean.
  • Install flexible piping on gas appliances where possible to avoid gas leaks that could cause fires.
  • Know how to turn off the gas supply to your house.
  • Discard worn-out electrical cords and plugs.
  • Have wiring inspected if you live in an older house or apartment to prevent electrical fires.

Find out more about fire safety with Vancouver Fire and Rescue.

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