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Student car catches fire in parking lot behind EHS building, draws crowd

Smoke rises as the Mount Pleasant Fire Department extinguish a car fire in Lot 56 behind the Education and Human Services building Wednesday night. (Courtesy | Kevin Piwowar)

Smoke rises as the Mount Pleasant Fire Department extinguish a car fire in Lot 56 behind the Education and Human Services building Wednesday night. (Courtesy | Kevin Piwowar)

A 2000 Pontiac Grand Prix caught fire Wednesday night in Lot 56 outside the Education and Human Services building.

The vehicle belonged to Danielle Carrasco, a Davison senior majoring in special education.

According to Carrasco, the vehicle had been leaking oil for nearly two months, but was told by mechanics that it was not an issue. Carrasco arrived on campus to print papers for a class at 5:05 p.m., and noticed that the vehicle was smoking as she exited.

Central Michigan University Police arrived on the scene at 5:15 p.m. regarding a possible car on fire, according to CMUPD Officer William Martinez, who was one of the first responders. The Mount Pleasant Fire Department arrived minutes later at 5:18 p.m.

Officers tried to put out the blaze themselves with their own department issued fire extinguishers, but were unsuccessful.

“Each of us tried to put it out, and we tried with three extinguishers at once,” Martinez said. “It didn’t go out, and that’s indicative of oil.”

Sgt. Gerard Vogel of the MFPD said the oil had leaked out of Carrasco’s engine, dripped onto a hot component and started the blaze.

No one was injured by the fire and other vehicles surrounding the Grand Prix were not damaged. Carrasco’s vehicle was towed out of the parking lot by Green’s Towing to her residence at Jamestown Apartments.

Police cleared the scene by 6:05 p.m.

Although Carrasco was not injured, she said it was less than ideal that she lost her car a week before finals, adding a new level of stress to an already stressful time.

“I hope I can get a new car out of this,” she said. “I’m glad I wasn’t driving when it happened, but I’m not happy it happened here and now.”

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