Hot coals used to warm car set car on fire, Madison Fire says

February 2, 2019

Using hot charcoal under your car to get it warm enough to start isn’t the best idea, as a Madison man can attest to.

Firefighters were called to the 3700 block of Karstens Drive Thursday afternoon for a vehicle in flames, after the owner of the vehicle put a baking sheet full of hot charcoal under the car.

“The owner told firefighters his vehicle had been frozen for the past three days and it wouldn’t start,” said Madison Fire Department spokeswoman Cynthia Schuster. “To warm it up, he put charcoal on a baking pan and lit the charcoal.”

When the flames died down, he put the pan of charcoal under the vehicle so it would thaw.

“About five minutes later, he noticed flames in the engine compartment and called 911,” Schuster said.

The man was not injured, but the fire burned the front seats and extended into the rear of the vehicle.

This incident happened two days after firefighters went to a residence on Spring Street, where a man set two baking sheets of hot charcoal under his minivan.

The firefighters removed the pans and extinguished the charcoal, telling the owner this type of burning was illegal and dangerous.

“He said he did it all the time, and would simply buy more charcoal and defy the orders after the firefighters left,” Schuster said.