At approximately 5:30 p.m. yesterday, Chanel Carlson was walking away from her car in the UVU parking lot L4 when she turned around at the smell of smoke.
“At first I looked at my car. There was no one in [the Pontiac Grand Prix]. No one was there or walking away,” Carlson said.
Six cars away, a Pontiac Grand Prix was smoking heavily out of the driver’s side. At 5:33 p.m. the car burst into flames.
By the time fire fighters arrived on the scene 6 or 7 minutes later, the flames had spread to two more cars directly next to it, including an SUV.
“Tires were popping, and smoke was pushing out of the tail pipe,” Carlson said.
To protect against explosion, Fire Fighters cut open the hood with and electric saw and broke windows.
The result was 8 cars damaged total, 5 of those severely burned and the remaining three with more minor heat and smoke related damage, according to the latest report by UVU campus Detective K. Liddiard. No injuries were found.
With investigation, the UVU police proclaimed the fire accidental according to Liddiard. The cause of the fire is still unknown.
Shortly after 6:30 p.m. when the SUV owner arrived, flames had died down and Carlson had been able to show photo evidence of earlier damage on her phone to the SUV owner.
“All vehicle owners have been contacted,” Liddiard said.
Due to confidentiality, the UVU police department cannot release the names of the 8 owners.
By 7:30 p.m. the area with damage cars had been cleared with tow trucks and unaffected cars were able to be moved.
“They wouldn’t let me move [my car],” Carlson said. “I had called my insurance to make sure I was covered. I really thought it was going to spread to my car,” Carlson said.
During the time of the fire total of 5 UVU police had made a perimeter around the area to control the area.
“The initial area was probably one hundred by one hundred feet…if we had all the cars leaving, we wouldn’t be able to get the fire trucks in, Liddiard said.