Two days ago my 2001 Ford Escape caught fire in our attached garage. Car was well maintained, just short of 150K miles on the odometer. Had taken the car out to run errands that afternoon: 5 mile total round trip, three stops. Got home, parked the car in the garage, locked the doors and went inside the house. Five minutes later the car alarm started going off. Looked in the garage, saw smoke coming out from under the hood. Called 911, dispatcher said “Open the garage door and LEAVE THE HOUSE!” Done, and done.
Fire Department trucks pulled up about 5 minutes later. By this time there were flaming pieces falling out of the bottom of the engine compartment. Gave the car keys to the fire rescue crew, but they couldn’t get the transmission into “Neutral” and the hood latch had burned so they couldn’t get the hood up.
About 10 minutes after they arrived they had the fire under control. The car was a total loss. Probable cause was a hairline crack or pinhole leak in the fuel line. We had the car towed out of the garage later that evening. We then hosed down the floor, liberally applied Pine Sol, scrubbed until we had a nice lather, rinsed everything out. We then swept the excess water and chunks of burnt car out of the garage. Didn’t smell too bad at that point.
By the next morning the smell was back with a vengeance. Opened the garage door to let it air out, but it is still bad.
So, to all of the Car Talk audience, a plea for help and advice. What should we do to get rid of this noxious (and potentially unhealthy) smell?
Lots of Febreeze and air fresheners, and an open garage door if you can do it safely without worrying about someone coming in and stealing stuff. In my former life as a TV journalist, I covered a lot of carbeques (that’s what we called them too, internally), and the smell sticks around for awhile, especially if there’s anything soft like fabrics that it gets into.
If it’s any consolation, house fires are even worse for getting rid of smells.
Wow!! That’s lucky the whole shebang didn’t burn down. It’s not that the floor is saturated but the entire building is saturated with the fumes. Smoke smells will diminish over time. The interior is sheet rocked… a repaint with primer will probably do it for the most part. Hey!! fall cleaning time…have a fire sale!!!
For the floor… epoxy by a professional or get educated as the fumes are dangerous. Fans etc… dries fast, but looks great. (light gray is my fav.)
Just a suggestion…
The interior is sheet rocked… a repaint with primer will probably do it for the most part.
KILZ original primer is designed for this.
Have you checked if your insurance will cover a cleanup company like Servpro? This is right up their alley.
thanks lion9car… you’re absolutely right!!
Smoke odor is hard to remove. We had a fire in one building on my campus. Even after a clean-up that night after the fire, I had to go to a separate wing of the building. It smelled heavily of the smoke. A couple of days later, the building where my office was located had the same smell even though it wasn’t connected and several blocks from the building where the fire occurred. Several computers had been pulled out of the building that had the fire and were being checked over. The covers had been removed and the computes switched on. The soot from the fire had collected on the circuit boards of these computers and the computers’ small fans spread the odor around the building. Your best bet, as has been suggested, is to call a professional company that specializes in fire clean-up.
To all: Thank you for your advice and recommendations. You confirmed our suspicions.
Will contact Servpro for their rates.