2000 Pontiac Firebird - Caught on fire while jump starting

my car caught on fire during a jump …the fire was on the left hand side maybe the alternator

sorry to here that.
left side meaning the drivers side. where I believe the battery is.

Can You Jumpstart A Car In The Rain? | Flag Towing

What do you want from us? I’d guess a fuel leak, but you didn’t provide enough information to make anything but a WAG. Did you smell gas? Give us more information about the circumstance surrounding the fire and what you want us to help you with and we will take a shot at it.


This is clearly a cause for a recall on the OP’s 21 year old car.

OK, WW - What does that link have to do with this person’s post . Some might think you are posting Spam.

as it says in the start of the article…
Jumpstarting your car without any experience can be risky. A faulty battery might start a fire or fry the entire car’s electrical system. The batteries contain sulfuric acid that evaporates and is highly flammable. While the jumper cables often create sparks that can result in fire or even explosion if not done correctly.

Nope, the battery generates hydrogen gas, that’s what can be flammable/explosive.


1)The car may have had a problem which would have started a fire with or with out a jump, and the fire during the jump was a coincidence

  1. As others have posted there may have been a fuel leak and the sparks from the cables being attached ignited the fuel

  2. Batteries give off hydrogen during charging, more so when the battery is in bad shape, end of life (diesel submariners constantly checked batteries for hydrogen off gassing, DBF) A spark from the cables will ignite the hydrogen.

Lots of cause and origin for an engine compartment fire

A year or so ago my sons alternator failed, killing the battery. When we tried to jump it the alternator started to smoke. I was quick to disconnect the jumper cables, was using a jump pack, no telling what damage it may have caused a donor car. Also if I was not paying attention and forced the jump the alternator may have started to burn. Replaced both the battery and alternator and problem solved.

I hope no one was hurt, burns are nasty

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I would think that a hydrogen gas fire would be short lived and cause less damage than a fuel caused fire. The Hindenburg burned out in 90 seconds with 7 million cubic feet of it.

If it was short lived then I would suspect the battery was the possible cause. A Subaru towed in for a no start was pushed into the shop about 11 one morning and I hooked up the battery charger to it as it was stone dead and moved on to another job. The charger was an old Mac Tools 300 amp rollaround with horrible leads. We had complained about the leads and the company would not repair or replace the charger.

About noon 4 of us were up front about to car pool for lunch and there was a loud boom which rattled all of the glass. Everyone went walking out wondering WTH. We saw some smoke coming from the Subaru and what had happened was that one of the cable clamps had broken. When it came loose a spark ignited the hydrogen gas and answered the question of whether or not a new battery was going to be needed. Nothing else damaged.
THEN they decide to buy a new charger…


That makes the most sense! Also if the jumper cables were reversed couldn’t it fry the alternator? I don’t know if all vehicles have fusible link going from the alternator to the battery. Maybe yours didn’t.