Caught in the Net | Caught in the Net | Chicago Reader

Caught in the Net 

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It was about 2:00 a.m. and I'm still working on some proposals. Well, not quite working at that time --more like watching some TV. Anyway, I hear this horn or siren in the background. I mute the TV and start my way to the front door.

I open the front door and--wait--the sound is coming from my truck in the driveway. And, look! The right front turn signal is flashing and the taillights are on. Oops...that's great! My car alarm system is going off. WAIT! I don't have a car alarm system....

I get to the truck and open the driver's door (still wondering why the car alarm I don't have is going off) and the windows are clogged up (gee, a lot of dew for this time of the morning) and smoke comes pouring out of the cab. I take a few steps back, look in, and see fire dripping from behind the steering wheel and under the dashboard. Fire? FIRE? FIRE!!!!!

OK, first the hood and unplug the battery. I do that--reaching my arm/hand into the cab cautiously (the fire isn't that big yet).

Now I turn and run back into the house to get the fire extinguisher. I run in and yell to my wife....She realizes what's going on and calls 911. I am frantically looking for the fire extinguisher....30-45 seconds later, she tells me that I'm not going anywhere near the truck--fire extinguisher or no fire extinguisher. I look outside and find out why--the truck is engulfed in flames.

Finally, the firefighters arrive. By now the rear tires are popping--yes popping, as in going flat. Flames are shooting 6-8 feet in the air above the truck. And it's a fine night for a fire, too. Clear, not too cold, a slight breeze in the air.

It takes them a while but they do get the fire out. No explosions, but something magnesium fell out of the cab of the truck near the end providing us with a nice fireworks display. The head firefighter later remarked that he didn't know they put magnesium in Fords...last magnesium car fire he saw was in a Volkswagen--magnesium blocks, he said.

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