ST. GEORGE — The St. George Fire Department responded to a vehicle fire in the parking lot of a senior activity center Friday morning.
Fire Chief Robert Stoker told St. George News a black and blue Dodge Ram pickup truck was driving near 245 North and 200 West just before 9:30 a.m. when a witness noticed smoke coming from the covered bed of the truck. The driver ultimately pulled into the parking lot of the St. George Utah Senior Citizen Center.
First responders originally believed the fire could have been the cause of electrical wiring, Stoker said, but upon further investigation, they found there was an old car battery in the back of the pickup that had caused the fire.
He said the driver was planning to dispose of the battery, but as she was driving down the road the battery slid to one side, and the exposed side posts came into contact with the inside of the truck. The battery shorted out, energized the back of the tailgate area and sparked.
The sparks hit the only flammable objects near the battery: the weather stripping and materials inside the tail light.
“If you are transporting any type of car battery that’s not hooked up, make sure those posts or those connections are covered with electrical tape or secured so they don’t end up coming in contact with any metal and shorting out,” Stoker said.
Officials pulled the tail light off the truck to ensure all of the wiring was sound and cleared the vehicle.
“It’s just one of those unusual ones (fires) you get every once in a while,” Stoker said.
Stoker said the fire was contained to the back of the vehicle, and the damage consisted of burnt weather stripping and minor damage to the driver’s side tail light. No injuries were reported.
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