17 March 2016

Losses and Lessons: ’66 Ford Galaxie burns rubber – along with everything else

VEHICLE INVOLVED: 1966 Ford Galaxie 500

WHAT WENT WRONG: Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and that isn’t a good thing when it comes to your classic. One winter day, the owner of a two-door 1966 Ford Galaxie 500 planned to work on his car, which was stored in a garage separated from his house. He started the building’s wood-burning stove and went back into the house for his cell phone. When he returned, the garage was filled with smoke, and flames were visible in the rear of the building. He attempted to put out the fire but realized it was too much to handle alone and ran back into the house, shouting to his wife to dial 9-1-1. By the time he returned to the garage, it was too late to save the car.

DAMAGE/LOSS: The Galaxie was a total loss. With Guaranteed Value insurance, the owner was paid the agreed value of the car. He was also offered the opportunity to buy back the salvage vehicle, but he decided the Galaxie was too far gone to attempt a restoration.

LESSON: Never leave a fire unattended, even for a few minutes, when flammable materials are nearby. And if a fire starts in your home or garage, get your family and pets out safely before you consider removing a vehicle. In this case, the Galaxie owner’s smartest decision was to resist the temptation to save his car. Never run into a burning building for something that can be replaced; it isn’t worth injury or loss of life.

5 Reader Comments

  • 1
    Sean New Haven CT March 23, 2016 at 19:04
    Ummmm why didn't he call 911 on the cell phone he originally went back to the house to get?
  • 2
    edward violante glendale,az March 23, 2016 at 23:05
    Not certain,but that car may have had a vented gas cap.In that case combined with a fire..........I think they began non vented @1968;excluding California,which began earlier?
  • 3
    Dan Columbus OH March 24, 2016 at 08:57
    ...not to mention, never have a wood stove in your garage...
  • 4
    Dave New York March 24, 2016 at 09:27
    Make sure you have enough beer on hand to douse the flames
  • 5
    John P. Leseganich, CPEA Canfield, Ohio March 24, 2016 at 23:02
    Have to comment, share my own story. Let me begin by saying that I am a "Certified Occupational Safety and Health Consultant"; that's important to remember for this quick story...why...well, I live and breath safety. To continue: While working in my back workshop/garage on my 1965 VW "Sun-Roof" Beetle I was replacing some sheet metal. I just got done cutting out some old and cutting some new. Had to grind the new panel to shape so took it over to the bench grinder, did a little grinding, place it in its replacement spot, held it with some body magnets and sat back admiring my work. It was then I smelled something burning, thinking it was simply the grinding I smelled I then notice a one inch layer of smoke at the ceiling level. Being winter here in Ohio, I had the garage pretty well closed up and heated up. I quickly walked over to the bench to see what was burning. There on the shelf just above the bench was a "new" bag of steel wool glowing like a hot piece of coal and smoking like a chimney. I immediately grabbed it, well that "new" bag was plastic and the plastic was melting. Grabbing "Hot" glowing - melting plastic isn't the best idea....did I mention I'm a certified safety expert.....I grabbed it, lifted the garage door and through the glowing bag of steel wool outside onto the snow covered ground. Garage filled with smoke, lost all my heat; but hey, just think if I would have called it quits after the grinding, shut the lights off, closed the door and went inside. The garage is attached to my house, could have been much worst. It can happen to anyone, you get deep into your project and just forget the simple things such as wearing proper personal protective equipment, ensuring the surroundings are safe, no damage electrical cords, no gas can lying around, no open containers, keep it safe. Have a nice day.

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