Followup: Car fire in West Seattle High School parking lot

April 17, 2013 at 12:45 pm | In West Seattle fires, West Seattle news | 17 Comments

(Photo by David Ryder)
If you saw the smoke last night in the Admiral area – it was from that car fire in the West Seattle High School parking lot, caught on camera by photographer David Ryder. Because of conflicting incidents/events last night, we didn’t get there until the fire was already out and firefighters had departed, but followed up after getting questions today.

(WSB photo by Patrick Sand)
Seattle Fire Department spokesperson Kyle Moore says it was a one-engine callout, but since there was nothing extraordinary about it, he has no information on its cause and says the fire crew that handled it is off-duty today, so he can’t check with them, but he notes that the fire marshal wasn’t called out – which would have been the case if there had been anything suspicious – and no medic unit was called, meaning no serious injuries, if any.

ADDED THURSDAY MORNING: Moore has since been able to reach the crew, and says: “The driver of the car said smoke started in the steering column when she tried to start the car. The most likely cause of the fire was an electrical fire inside the steering column.” He also confirms that no one was hurt.


  1. Nothing suspicious? Really? Just your ordinary spontaneous automobile combustion in a deserted parking lot kind of thing I guess.

    Look at David’s picture … doors are open, fire is pouring out of the doors, hood is down – seriously intense fire in the interior of the car. There’s got to be something fishy about this.

    Comment by Watcher — 2:39 pm April 17, 2013 #

  2. Looks like it could be an old Pontiac. Can’t tell if it’s a Fire-bird or a Fiero. Those were hot cars! I had a burning desire to own one.

    Comment by Thugbee — 2:54 pm April 17, 2013 #

  3. I agree with Watcher…if it isn’t suspicious then what is it? Just an unfortunate engine that blew up at the high school? Hmmm. “Nothing extraordinary about it?” Seems plenty contrary to ordinary parking lot environments. Maybe I need to get out more.

    Comment by Greta — 2:59 pm April 17, 2013 #

  4. good pun Thugbee! :) Seriously…the engine seems fine and it’s not the source of ignition (double pun!)…time to get your crew on the phone and answer some questions.

    Comment by onceachef — 3:34 pm April 17, 2013 #

  5. Pretty dramatic pictures.

    Comment by West Seattle Hipster — 3:44 pm April 17, 2013 #

  6. Um, this actually happened to my car in the Kennedy HS parkeing lot in 1980 in third period. Ahh, memories and my old yellow VW bug, up in flames….

    Comment by Stacy — 4:28 pm April 17, 2013 #

  7. What time of night did this happen?

    Comment by Tracey — 4:32 pm April 17, 2013 #

  8. Dispatched at 7:14 pm, per Kyle.

    Comment by WSB — 4:37 pm April 17, 2013 #

  9. I have a friend who had a truck with a gas tank that leaked a little. Someone threw a cigarette butt close to it, and whoosh! The truck was gone.

    Comment by AJP — 5:16 pm April 17, 2013 #

  10. Pontiac with a Ford Pinto gas tank. Relax…

    Comment by Chevy Vega — 6:42 pm April 17, 2013 #

  11. Oil on exhaust manifold can cause it. Gas leak onto exhaust, lots of ways cars magically burn. At least its not a lithium battery the size of your trunk, those are really nasty

    Comment by mike — 7:13 pm April 17, 2013 #

  12. Nothing really nefarious here. If the doors of the car were closed when the fire started, the pressure built up in such a small enclosed space can certainly be enough to force the doors open. Sometimes even off the hinges.
    If the professional fire crews do not think there is anything suspicious, I suppose no reason for anyone else to second guess them.

    Comment by Ken — 8:34 pm April 17, 2013 #

  13. I also had a VW that periodically spontaneously combusted. I just learned to keep a little fire extinguisher on board and we were all good. That’s kind of an amazing picture.

    Comment by Jenny — 10:19 pm April 17, 2013 #

  14. A car fire in a very visible neighborhood area is not suspicious? Yes, it is.

    Comment by T — 2:24 am April 18, 2013 #

  15. Looks pretty suspicious to me. The fire doesn’t even look like it had anything to do with the engine, but rather the car itself. In a nearly empty parking lot. Looks weird.

    Comment by Nick — 4:55 am April 18, 2013 #

  16. Really, a fire can be just a fire. I asked Kyle to try to reach the crew again, and this time he was able to. Have added the information to the story above.

    Comment by WSB — 9:49 am April 18, 2013 #

  17. It’s quite obvious its a Grand Am. And it’s a SEDAN. How does one gather Fiero/Firebird from a sedan? Proof that Seattle drivers can’t tell a bus from a F14 fighter jet. Stay in the left lane going 51 and mind yo own business like you always do.

    Comment by Left_Lane_Larry — 10:31 pm April 21, 2013 #

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