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The Car Went ‘POOF’!

I was reminded of a story today.  One I think you might enjoy.  I have to admit, had it not happened to me and my family, I wouldn’t have believed it!

Let’s start with a little background…

Background story #1:

I was working as a Purchasing Assistant at an Educational Coop – my job was to get bids/award bids/send out order forms/collect orders/place orders/record & bill shipments…for about 20 schools in the NE region of MN. There was one particular item we seemed to be having a lot of trouble getting for one of our schools.  A desk chair.  After about 2 months the chair was nowhere to be found…it had been lost in transit once, back-ordered a few times…you name it…this chair just wasn’t coming.

Background story #2:

My nephew was attending St. John’s University where he swam for their team.  For Christmas break they headed down to, I think, the Bahamas, where they stayed in a Monastery.

On his first swim in their outdoor pool, he did one length, flipped and accidentally caught his foot on the lane marker.  A long cut on his foot, a visit to the hospital and 2 or 3 stitches later and he was stuck sitting watching the rest of the team swim…for the rest of the trip.

Sometime during his stay, rats got into his backpack and ate all his snacks.

One day when he went to sit on the lone piece of grass to watch his team and read a book…he sat on a bee…and it stung him on the butt (snicker, snicker)

This poor kid just couldn’t catch a break.

And now for the rest of the story…

My sister was looking for company for the 4 hr trip to pick up her son from the airport…and I needed to get that darn office chair for my customer…so off we went.

Chair was picked up from the office supply dealer…Nephew and his friend picked up from the airport…Stopped for dinner and gas…Headed home.

We were about an hour into our trip when all the dummy lights started flashing on my dashboard and I realized we were losing speed.  I asked my sister to look for the mile marker and I tried to hit the gas.  Accelerating wasn’t working so I pulled over.  The minute we stopped the car started to fill with smoke so we quickly got out of the car and walked away.  Seeing that it was just smoking, I ran back and dialed 911 on my bag cellphone (yes, I’m THAT old).  I had just made the call and I heard my sister and the boys yelling at me to get out of there!  There was a small circle of fire under the car.  All of a sudden the car went up in smoke.  No explosion, no fireworks, just ‘POOF’! We did hear a few “pops” which we were told later was the tires blowing.

We just stood there, mouths gaping, and I yelled…”My car!!!”  It was January, around 8:00 at night, and the temperature was below zero….brrrrrr…and my nephew and his friend were in shorts (thankfully with blankets wrapped around them)!

Now remember that 911 call?  Yeah,  it was just for a state patrol to come as the car was smoking – we hadn’t seen any fire when I called.  When he arrived, he called the fire truck…needless to say the car was toast…or at least 80% of it.  The back foot or so was spared.

Thankfully a sweet old couple came along and offered up their car as a shelter for us to stay warm.

The state patrolman finally came to talk to us once the fire was out and I asked him…”Is there anything we should take from the car?”  He just laughed at me and said “There’s nothing left!” and walked away.  Huh…like I was supposed to know just how bad it was….50 yds away behind the fire…and it wasn’t like I’d EVER had a car fire before!  Hrmph.

The sweet couple gave us a ride to the town they were initially headed to…they were on their way for a little gambling.  On the way there, my sister and I were trying to think of what was all in the car.  The first thing we thought of was our purses.  “AAACK – our purses!!!”  OK, what do you keep in your purse?  We started naming things off…wallet, cash, credit cards, pictures…lip balm, sunglasses…then my sister says:  tampons.  I looked at her and said “Sure – fuel for the fire!”  At least we were able to laugh…

When we went back the next day to survey the damage (and because my ex obviously didn’t believe it was as bad as I said it was), the car was bare metal (again, expect that last foot or so).  It was unbelievable to see it up close – the shell of the car, the bare metal seats…I even found a quarter on one seat which had bubbled!  Now that was a hot fire!

I giggled a little when my nephew pulled out a piece of his luggage and a fairly burnt coconut he’d brought home for his Mom…”I was bringing home a coconut for you!”…until I realized he was in tears.  This is one trip I’m sure he’ll never forget.

Oh and lest I forget…remember the desk chair?


Picture me calling the dear stock lady at the school and the vendor to explain what happened…I think we laughed until we cried!  How many things went wrong in trying to get this order to them?  The vendor assured me he’d ship it out ASAP, and the customer just laughed and shook her head (I could hear it on the phone).

Thank God we were all okay, but what a crazy, mixed up adventure we had that day.

May it NEVER happen again!!!

Patty O

Thanks to Carl Spurgeon on Pinterest for the great photo (this was not my car).

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