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Fire Official: Push Vehicles Out Of Snow Piles, Avoid Fire

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ST. PAUL (WCCO) — The St. Paul Fire Marshall blames dozens of vehicle fires on the snowstorm this weekend and last December. Apparently, it all has to do with the way you try to get your vehicle out of those snow piles.

“Now cars are so low-profile that it doesn’t take very much snow before the car’s actually sitting on top of the snow and the tires aren’t doing you any good at all. They’re just spinning,” said Dan Burns, owner of Lloyd’s Automotive in St. Paul.

Burns said an engine can start on fire when you’re revving it and overheated transmission fluid overflows onto a hot catalytic converter.

“Once you get the fire burning under there, then there’s lots of things, a lot of plastic petroleum type things, to burn,” said Burns.

These winter storms have caused dozens of car fires in St. Paul and Minneapolis.

The bottom line is that rocking a vehicle to get out of snow piles is a bad idea.

“If you get stuck, do your best to shovel out underneath the car as much as you can,” said Burns. “Really what you need to do is get some help, someone to push you or pull you. To just spin your tires in vain is just going to wreck your car.”

Drivers can total their car even without a fire. If the transmission fluid overflows, the engine is toast. There is a noticeable problem with shifting when the fluid is low.

Drivers can get answers to all their car problems from Dan Burns on WCCO Radio every Saturday morning at 7 o’clock.

Joan Gilbertson, Producer
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