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Swede Alley closed as crews put out car fire in China Bridge parking lot

Car fire 1-2-23.jpg
KPCW
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A nearby motorist captured footage of the burning car in China Bridge Monday.

A car fire in the basement of China Bridge parking lot Monday afternoon briefly shut down Swede Alley and sent noxious smoke and fumes into nearby businesses and offices.

Fire officials said a team was headed to the garage to determine what started the fire.

An older model SUV parked in a corner of the basement level of the China Bridge parking lot was engulfed in flames when fire crews responded about 1:45 Monday afternoon.

They closed the street in both directions, dug out a snow-covered fire hydrant and extinguished the fire within about 20 minutes. Limiting damage to just one car.

A motorist who had been parked next to the burning car and was able to get out of the garage provided KPCW with video footage of the fire, which is in the online version of this report at KPCW.org.

As smoke and fumes filled the street, emergency crews advised people in neighboring areas to stay outside in case of dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. Firemen later went door to door to test levels of that toxic gas as well as another toxin, hydracyanide.

The garage had elevated levels of carbon monoxide but crews said it would dissipate quickly since the garage is open-air.

Heber resident Greg Brewington was headed to work. He pulled in to the garage and noticed the fire.

“I noticed a little bit of flame underneath a bumper on a vehicle, and then when I looked closer, I saw that the whole back bumper was already burning so I called 911 and got out of the garage.”

Fire officials said once a car has been destroyed by fire it can be virtually impossible to determine what started it. They were able to determine the fire began in the back of the car and spread from there.

They said it was fortunate that the car was not an electric vehicle, as electric battery car fires can take days to fully extinguish.

Michelle, who joined KPCW in 2021, arrived in Utah in 2018 by way of Massachusetts, where the skiing was icy and the mosquitoes formidable. A former daily newspaper reporter and editor (at the Visalia Times-Delta in CA) and columnist (at The Cohasset Mariner in MA), Michelle has been a writer and editor for decades. She holds a journalism degree from CSU Fresno and has worked as a journalist, freelance writer and web content creator, reporting extensively on education and youth along with general assignment and breaking news.