Yesterday afternoon, Ukiah Valley Fire Authority firefighters responded to reports of a vehicle fire in the parking lot of Safeway along State Street. Captain Ryan Nelson told us when firefighters first responded, flames and smoke were radiating from the engine compartment. After the fire was extinguished, investigators determined the fire was the result of an issue associated with wiring near the vehicle’s battery.
Initially, Ukiah Police Department was on the scene around 2:20 p.m. noticing smoke and flame coming from the vehicle’s wheel well and engine compartment. Officers broke the vehicle’s window in an attempt to access the hood release, but they found it had melted, and could not lift up the hood. Captain Nelson told us officers discharged two complete fire extinguishers before UVFA personnel arrived on the scene.
When firefighters arrived, they cut their way into the vehicle’s engine bay, directly hitting the source of the fire, and successfully fought back the flames.
Captain Nelson said that during the entirety of the incident, the vehicle’s owner was nowhere to be found.
Upon investigation, Captain Nelson told us electrical wiring near the vehicle’s battery seemed to be at fault. He characterized the fire as “unintentional.” He praised UPD officers’ efforts to extinguish the fire calling them the “real heroes of the day.”