Read car news websites all day and you’ll get the impression that the only cars to ever catch on fire are Ferraris (all the time), Teslas (in wrecks), Fiskers (in your garage) or Lamborghini (when people rev them standing still). This is not the case. All kinds of cars catch fire, like this one right here holy shit look at it wow that is on fire my god.

My coworker Mike Ballaban and I did not go out seeking this burning Honda Accord. It came to us. We stepped out of Jalopnik HQ’s sealed climate-pod, floating high above Manhattan and tethered with a prototype space elevator we stole from Jeff Bezos’ experimental blimp hangar.

Photo: Raphael Orlove

We both smelled it at first. A gas leak? Burning glue? Then we saw the thick cloud of black smoke pouring out from the west side corner down the block in the direction we happened to be walking anyway. It didn’t take long before oh! That Honda is on fire.

Photo: Raphael Orlove

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We talked to the owner as best we could, but his English wasn’t great. Even so he explained he didn’t know how the first started, that it just went up while he was driving. It looks like it started right around the battery, though how or why I can’t say for sure.

Photo: Raphael Orlove

Mike and I asked the firefighters who quickly showed up if they had any theories but they shrugged it off. This happens all the time, they said, more often than you think. They popped the trunk to make sure nobody was in it, standard procedure.

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Everyone around came to look, from bike messengers passing by (one of whom barked a lot) and these kids clustered around their window.
Photo: Raphael Orlove

I feel for the guy, and now I’m gonna go get a better mount for the extinguisher I keep close at hand in my old Volkswagen.

Photo: Raphael Orlove