Flames engulfed a car in the parking lot of the Sportsplex on Sunday. Photo by Stefan Van de Vlasakker

Flames destroy car at Sportsplex in Campbell River

Nobody injured in blaze, but fire chief sends warning to public about explosions during car fires

Black smoke billowed into the sky and a witness reported hearing two explosions as flames gutted a Chrysler sedan in Willow Point on Sunday.

Campbell River resident Mark Jones was playing disc golf when he heard the sound of “two loud explosions” ring out from the parking lot of the Sportsplex.

“[I] thought it was kids with fireworks,” he said in a Facebook message to the Mirror. “Then I saw the black smoke.”

The first blast “almost sounded like a propane tank explosion,” he said.

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Firefighters arrived five minutes later and extinguished the flames, said Jones, who posted a photo of the blaze on the Facebook group Campbell River Rant, Rave and Randomness.

No injuries were reported, but the car is likely a write-off, said fire chief Thomas Doherty.

Flames had engulfed the car’s passenger compartment by the time firefighters arrived on the scene, shortly after they received the emergency call at 5:04 p.m., he said.

“It was fully involved when the crews arrived,” Doherty said, adding that the car was parked and nobody was inside at the time.

The response involved a total of 10 firefighters from Campbell River’s two fire halls, he said.

READ MORE: Rash of fires in Campbell River’s south end prompts fire safety reminder

Doherty wouldn’t speculate on the cause of the fire, saying it’s under investigation. But he said the case was unusual. 

“It’s not typical that the passenger compartments ignite,” he said.

Doherty urged members of the public to steer clear if they witness a vehicle fire. Hazards can include flying bumpers, he said.

“A lot of vehicles have… pre-loaded bumpers,” Doherty said. “Under heat, those bumpers can explode, or the bumpers can fly off… [It’s] very dangerous and hazardous.”

He also warned of other sudden explosions.

“Tires can explode, or if there’s any products in the vehicle or in the trunk … that may explode as well,” he said.


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Firefighters extinguished a blaze in the parking lot of the Sportsplex on Sunday. Photo by Stefan Van de Vlasakker