Firefighters quickly extinguish car fire on Saddleback campus

OCFA was able to contain the blaze to the engine compartment. (Sean Lara)

Sean Lara

A student’s SUV spontaneously caught fire in lot 5 last Wednesday at 2 p.m. Patrick Larson, 26, automotive technology, noticed a plume of smoke and flames coming from the vehicle and gathered several fire extinguishers from the Saddleback College Auto Shop.

“I started to stick the nozzle of the fire extinguisher anywhere I could: the grill, the fenders, under the body,” Larson said. “I just wanted to prevent the fire from spreading to other cars.”

A crowd of students gathered as Orange County firefighters arrived on the scene, led by Captain Jack Perisho. Despite difficulties opening the vehicle’s hood, the firefighters were able to contain the blaze to the engine.

“It’s unclear how the fire started,” Perisho said, “but what is known is that the fire started approximately 20 minutes after it was parked, which indicates the possibility of some sort of overheating, but it could be a very large number of things.”

After extinguishing the fire, campus police located the owner of the gray Isuzu Trooper , Alexis Tindall, 20, San Clemente, who declined comment.

There were no injuries associated with this incident, or any damage to surrounding cars. The Isuzu was a total loss; however, Tindall was able to recover most of her belongings from the vehicle, including two surfboards and several textbooks.