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So, what's your favorite new-car comparison site? There's a really important reason I ask....

By Andrew Pollack on 02/11/2005 at 04:12 PM EST

Last night, about 5 hours after I backed into the garage, the Durango went up in flames. At 4am, the smoke detectors noted the haze and set the alarm off, and everyone got quickly out of the house. I then went back in and grabbed an extinguisher and put out (mostly) the car fire in the garage. Then, I went and got another extinguisher and used half of that to get it more out. Finally, I found a way into the garage from outside. and after pulling the manual release on the door was able to open it and let enough smoke out that I could get in to put it the rest of the way out. Its a good thing too -- with all the snow, if I hadn't got it out we'd have lost half the house.

We'd just had 15 inches of fresh snow, and the plows hadn't been through so it was 20 minutes getting our squad one truck there to vent the house. All is well now, the kids and barb are away for the night and I'll probably join them. Servepro is due tomorrow to wash the rugs and set things to right here in the house.

Pictures:







There are  - loading -  comments....

My own thoughts on this are...By ALan Lepofsky on 02/11/2005 at 04:39 PM EST
Glad you are ok. Any idea why the fire started?
what started it...By Andrew Pollack on 02/11/2005 at 10:09 PM EST
Well, as they say in the fire service -- some combustable materials got fairly
hot, and due to the presense of enough oxidizer were able to ignite.

Kidding aside, Dodge runs a 10 guage wire that's always hot even with the key
off back to the trailer hookup. I think a lot of snow pack got in there, and
contained calcium chloride. As it melted, the saline water bridged the gap
between the high and low side of a relay, sending up to maybe 60 amps into an
18 guage wire. That'd heat the wire right up, and certainly could cause
combustion.
holy mackerelBy jonvon on 02/11/2005 at 05:09 PM EST
glad you are ok! i bet you never thought you'd be putting out a fire in your
own house!

wow...

fires are no fun. we had one in an apartment a few years back. scared us pretty
good but everyone was ok.
Saw a similar problem referenced on TVBy Bruce Perry on 02/11/2005 at 09:39 PM EST
There was a news report a week or two back about pickup trucks (Ford F150 and
possibly others) where a component near the the brake fluid reservoir would
fail to turn off when the vehicle was shut off. This would eventually overheat
and set off the brake fluid. I didn't know that stuff burned, but apparently
it does.

Could this have been what happened?
*Geez, I sure am glad you had a smoke detector in the garage! Good jolt to everyone's complacency.By Paul Ryan on 02/11/2005 at 11:08 PM EST
Actually, heat detectors in the garage, smoke/heat everywhere else.....By Andrew Pollack on 02/12/2005 at 11:13 AM EST
heat detectors work by watching for a number of degree change in a specific
range of time, where smokes work by looking for smoke (duh).

The important thing is they're all wired together, so that when the one
downstairs went off, the whole house went into alarm mode and we were long out
of the house before it could have been a real danger to anyone. Had it waited
until the upstairs detectors went off, it could have been very different.
well, at least you knew how to handle itBy George Chiesa on 02/12/2005 at 12:11 PM EST
glad all humans are well...By Ed Brill on 02/12/2005 at 10:26 PM EST
as for the original question, I used a combination of cars.com, kbb.com, and
edmunds.com to get smart enough to make my last car purchase in November '04.
I also used Consumer Reports, but only their printed reviews (don't subscribe
to their website). In the end, all that data empowered me to buy a
end-of-model-year vehicle for 20% off sticker, and (while not applicable in
your case) gave me the knowledge to sell my old car on my own and pick up 50%
more than I had been offered in trade.
My own thoughts on this are...By bonj on 02/18/2005 at 05:10 PM EST
I have heard of taking your work home with you, but that is a bit much!

Glad to hear everyone is okay. Good Luck with the Durango, hope you're able to
get it all fixed up.

I don't do a lot of car buying but often pop over to a couple that Ed
mentioned, kbb.com and edmunds.com when looking for info. Carfax can be
helpful on the history. Some dealers offer a report on the car you are looking
at such that you don't have to purchase a report yourself. One can often go to
their Motor Vehicle Bureau and get a title search done (at a cost in our state
anyway), but they often only have info from that state. Carfax may offer
better results. I believe they purchase records from all states, thus more
history for those cars that have made it around. I am not sure if it is still
the case, but I know in the past there were some states that did not have
Salvage titles, such that one could run a salvage car through one of those
states to end up with a good title and move it on to where they wanted to sell
it, once again having a good title.

So which site did you use?
My own thoughts on this are...By bonj on 02/19/2005 at 10:47 PM EST
After I posted I realized that I probably took your post incorrectly. I was
thinking you had just gotten the Durango and were going to tell us a car site
to stay away from. I now realize that you are probably asking as you might be
looking for something new. Good luck in your search.
Wow - good for you - no-one hurt - good news..By Wild Bill on 02/13/2005 at 09:47 AM EST
Wow...By Ray Bilyk on 02/14/2005 at 09:29 AM EST
Glad everyone is okay!


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