Got One of These in Your Vehicle?

Extinguisher Photo

We were on our way home after a wonderful two week visit with our daughter and son-in-law in Bellevue Washington, with a few days in the San Juan Island when the real adventure started. We stayed over night in Roseberg Oregon and were looking forward to lunch in Weed about 20 miles down I-5 when the excitement erupted.

The first indication that something was wrong was the AC stopped pumping cool air and then a red light popped up on the dash display, check the radiator level. I was pulling over to the road side when a plethora of warning lights came on and smoke started come out of both sides of the hood.

“We are on fire,” exclaimed Ellen my wife with some urgency in her voice.

I grabbed a water bottle out of the cup holder and then remember there was a fire extinguisher in the emergency box in the back of our Volvo station wagon. We carry an extinguisher, folding shovel and two backpack with 72 hours of survival food and water or each of us.

I grabbed the extinguisher and popped the hood. The right hand side of the engine was on fire and flame was rippling across hood liner. Pulling the safety pin, fumbled with the activation button, a stream of white powder erupted on the engine flame. I was about to relax, when Ellen pointed out the flames on the hood liner. Another shot from the extinguisher, and the hood was saved. Poof, the extinguisher was empty, but the engine was still smoldering.

Several people pulled over and offered assistance, then one young lady recommended we call 911 should the smoldering oil re-ignite. While waiting for CalFire to arrive several Supervisor’s stopped to offer assistance. Called AAA and they said, they could not roll until the fire unit cleared the scene. The CHP arrived called AAA to expedite the tow vehicle.

We had the AAA 200 mile tow option and told the tow truck driver to “taker home.” to Nevada City. Four hours on uncomfortable tow truck seats was a not to repeated experience for our old bones. But, we arrive home safe, with the vehicle intact.  Engine damage yet to be determined.

Bottom line! The fire extinguisher in our Volvo saved the day. We have polled out children, friends and our doctor, asking “do you have a fire extinguisher in your cars”? The most prevalent answer was no! Amazon is having a run on fire extinguishers this week.

Do you have an extinguisher in your vehicles? I am assuming you are smart enough to have one at home.

About Russ Steele

Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.
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2 Responses to Got One of These in Your Vehicle?

  1. Anthony J. Mengotto says:

    Wow, glad to here both you and your wife are ok. Who would ever think that would happen. It’s good, that you had that fire extinguisher. I’m going to buy one for my wife and myself. Thanks for the tip.


  2. Stu says:

    Thanks, reminder to check mine – Glad you made it home safe


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