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Now that's a fire!

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by outofplace, Aug 31, 2010.

  1. outofplace

    outofplace Well-Known Member

    At some point today, while watching my car burn on the side of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, that line from an old Eddie Murphy routine popped into my head.

    Not sure if this is even interesting to anybody else, but it's very late and I need to vent, so here goes.

    Little OOP and I spent the last few days in Pittsburgh visiting my mother. We drove home this morning. About two hours into the drive, my car loses power. I try to pull over and realize the breaks aren't working either. I manage to get the car stopped on the shoulder of the road, mostly using just the emergency break. I'm angry thinking we're going to be stuck waiting for help by the side of the road. Now I just wish that's all it had been.

    At this point, I had no idea that the underside of my car was on fire, though I'm assuming that is why I lost power and brakes by then. I saw a little smoke and thought the car had overheated. I grab my phone and run around to get little OOP out of the car. Just to be sure. This wonderful old couple pulls up a nice, safe distance behind us. The husband walks up to help me get her clear. I'm calling 911 as we do this.

    And this is when I do what could have been the dumbest thing ever. And I've done my share of dumb. In my defense, I did not realize the car was anything more than overheated. Once little OOP is safe, I go back to pull our bags from the trunk. As I pull our two suitcases free, I get a face full of smoke. The smell of a car fire is something I will now never forget. I really thought for a moment I was going to vomit right there and I have a very strong stomach.

    I look around the side of the car and see the smoke is much thicker. At this point, I realize things are much worse than I had thought. I run to join little OOP at the old couple's Winebago (sp?). By the time we got inside, we could see flames from the front of the vehicle.

    Honestly, I have no idea how long that all took. A state trooper arrived about 10 minutes later. The car burned for at least 20 minutes before the fire department arrived. We really were in the middle of nowhere. It was just surreal watching the flames shoot from beneath it. It didn't explode. Just melted, though we were too far away to see that. We just saw the results later.

    Little OOP never cried. Never panicked. She did as she was told every step of the way. I've never been more proud of my little girl. Not sure I would have been so calm when I was seven. She's upset about possessions she lost, particularly a book of Frog and Toad stories that she just bought and absolutely loves. Obviously, we're getting a replacement as soon as possible. But otherwise, she's fine, which is what really matters most.

    The old couple that helped us was wonderful. The state trooper told them that it was good to see people still stop to help. I must have thanked each of them 100 times and it still doesn't feel like it was enough. They offered to drive us to the next town, but we went with the car in the tow truck and waited for Mrs. OOP to come get us.

    During the long wait, we went to see the car a few times. I will post pictures once we manage to get them downloaded. I can't believe that burned-out mess was my car. Just a metal frame full of melted plastic and ashes. I can't believe that a few hours earlier, my daughter and I were inside that car, feeling as safe as can be. My biggest worry was getting home in time to tinker with my fantasy baseball lineup for the week. Next thing I know, it is literally going up in flames.

    I think about what would have happened if the fire had spread more quickly. If we hadn't been able to get off the road so easily. If I had panicked, or if little OOP had panicked. If my stupity could have cost me more than a few singed hairs on my legs.

    My little one keeps telling us she misses the car. She is amazed that she was "in a fire." She told us at one point that she would have been really upset if she had been in the car when the fire got bad. I shiver as I realize how that really would have gone.

    Me? Man, today sucked, but I'm feeling like the luckiest guy on the planet. My little girl is ok. The rest, is just stuff.

    Ok...end of rambling. Maybe I'm being overly dramatic. I don't know. Just had to get this all out somewhere. Thanks for listening/reading.
  2. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    Damn, OOP. glad your daughter and you are OK.
    As you said, the rest of it is just stuff.

    Do you have any idea how the car caught on fire?
  3. outofplace

    outofplace Well-Known Member

    No clue. I can't imagine that the insurance company will be able to determine anything given how badly everything burned. There just isn't enough left.

    Anybody got any suggestions for my next car? Preferably something that doesn't burn up.
  4. Beef03

    Beef03 Active Member

    Glad to hear you and your daughter are safe.

    What are your requirements for a car? Is it almost purely a comuter or do you have to haul kids and gear to soccer practice on a regular basis?
  5. outofplace

    outofplace Well-Known Member

    Just the one kid, so we don't need anything big. Honestly, that's going to be the job later this week. We need to get the rental tomorrow and go from there.

    For now, I'm just focusing on how much better things are than they could have been. Time to at least try to sleep. Pictures tomorrow (I hope).
  6. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    You know, if this had happened two years ago, I would have needed an air-tight alibi. :)

    Glad to hear you're OK. That was scary just to read, I cannot imagine going thru it. I've had car accidents and car issues far from home, but a.) my car has never gone up in flames and b.) I only had to worry about me. I never had a child with me. Man, that is some scary shit.
  7. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

    This happened because of salary caps.

    Glad everyone is OK.
  8. Azrael

    Azrael Well-Known Member

    Happy to hear you're OK. That's all that matters.

    Keep an extinguisher handy in your next car.
  9. Armchair_QB

    Armchair_QB Well-Known Member

    Ho-lee shit!

    Glad you and your daughter are ok OOP.
  10. Inky_Wretch

    Inky_Wretch Well-Known Member

    Good job on not panicking. You did good.
  11. outofplace

    outofplace Well-Known Member

    As I posted that, I was trying to remember if you ever told me to die in a fire. :)

    Honestly, the fear didn't really kick in until after the fact, when I realized what could have happened.

    Azrael, that is a good idea, but the state trooper told us it wouldn't help. One of the first things to catch fire was the front tires. Once that happens, he said you might as well just put the extinguisher down and walk away.
  12. outofplace

    outofplace Well-Known Member

    Thanks. I've replayed it in my head about a thousand times now, wondering if I could have done more or if I should have just run away with my kid sooner. I've finally settled on being happy with the way things are.
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