Engine compartment sparks fire in Virginia Avenue garage

The fire department used foam to extinguish the vehicle fire.
An MU Police Department car blocks off the entrance to the east side of the Virginia Avenue Parking Garage as a Columbia Police Department ladder truck is raised Thursday. A 1998 Chrysler Sebring caught fire inside the engine compartment just before noon.

Just before noon on Thursday, the Columbia Fire Department responded to a car fire inside the Virginia Avenue parking structure.

A campus facilities employee alerted authorities after hearing a noise from the garage, fire department spokesman John Metz said.

“There were a bunch of people standing around and you could see smoke billowing out (of the garage)," sophomore Stephen Sobczak said. "You could just see a bunch of flames coming up from the front of the car. It was looking like the car was about to explode pretty soon and then the fire department was here and they were dragging the hose out."

A 1998 Chrysler Sebring convertible caught fire inside the engine compartment. The fire department dispatched two units to the up-ramp of the first level at 11:59 a.m. and arrived four minutes later, Metz said. Firefighters forced entry to the convertible and the car took five minutes to be extinguished. The fire department used foam inside garages because ladder trucks are unable to access garages.

Initially, the alert said the car was fully involved. After arriving on scene, the department classified the incident as a standard incident fire, Metz said.

The two vehicles next to the Chrysler had no reports of visible damage, just foam that had splashed on the car.

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