Just when we thought we had seen all the world of car fires had to offer, a 1987 Volkswagen Vanagon manages to surprise us. The van performed the seemingly impossible this past week when it drove itself uphill into a nearby condo after setting itself ablaze.
The Volkswagen was sitting in a parking stall near its former owners home in Sandy, OR this past Thursday when a fire started in the rear engine bay. Even though the parking stall was on a slight uphill incline as the fire grew more intense the vehicle actually started moving uphill towards a neighboring house.
As bystander Christon Hortsman explained to KSL.com
"The flames just kept increasing. It spread to the undercarriage, the tires and wheels to the van. Somehow the brake released and the van started rolling forward, impacted the house and then the flames actually blew the top of the van off. Flames then went to the house."
Certainly vehicles have been setting themselves on fire for decades, but we've never heard of a vehicle actually driving itself while on fire—besides this one. The van moved itself uphill at a rate of approximately 1 mph and then rolled down an incline into a neighboring condo.
James Belmont, the owner of the charred Vanagon, believes the starter motor may have engaged during the electrical fire slowly propelling the van uphill. Belmont told KSL he leaves the van in first gear when he parks it which makes this a likely explanation for the bizarre incident. We still prefer the idea the Vanagon was determined to put a unique take on vehicular self immolation.
Firefighters were able to extinguish the fire before it spread to the interior of the condo, but the possibly possessed Volkswagen is completely destroyed. Belmont told reporters he isn't worried about the destroyed van and is "just so thankful no one got hurt."