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Volkswagen Van Drives Itself Into Condo While On Fire

Illustration for article titled Volkswagen Van Drives Itself Into Condo While On Fire

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.

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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.

Illustration for article titled Volkswagen Van Drives Itself Into Condo While On Fire
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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.

Illustration for article titled Volkswagen Van Drives Itself Into Condo While On Fire
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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."

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Illustration for article titled Volkswagen Van Drives Itself Into Condo While On Fire

Hat tip to Dave!
Photo Credit: Christon Hortsman, Laura Seitz/Deseret News
[KSL.com]

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DISCUSSION

Thank God another one of these slow, unsafe, horrible vehicles has been taken off of the road. This one had the good sense to take itself out while not harming any humans. I do a lot of driving for work and pleasure, and these things are the bane of my driving existence. I've found no other vehicle that consistently does about 10 mph below the speed limit, no matter what the speed limit is. Rolling roadblocks usually in obviously awful mechanical condition. Especially the earlier ones, but even the later models like the one shown are starting to be in pretty desperate mechanical shape which really affects their ability to keep up in traffic. The few that have been restored should be museum pieces and the rest should be parked.