Car Erupts in Fire Near Campus

Jessica Bourse

A ’94 Honda Accord burst into flames at the intersection of Mountain Street and Verdugo Road on Monday evening, possibly the result of a faulty spark plug wire, according to the Glendale Fire Department.

The owner of the vehicle, 20-year-old Robert Ortiz, was not injured.

“I just came to pick up my girl [from Glendale College],” said Ortiz, “and out of nowhere, the car started to smoke.”

Ortiz made a right turn on Mountain Street and jumped out of the car when he saw the blaze erupt out of the hood.

Glendale Fire Station 24 received the call about the vehicle fire at 6:06 p.m., said Fire Captain Mark Berg.

When Engine 24A arrived on the scene, Ortiz’s car was on the far right lane on Mountain Street, engulfed in flames.

“It didn’t take very long to put out the fire,” said Berg, “It was an engine fire.”

Firefighter Gilbert Pedroza, who is also an instructor at the college’s Fire Academy, cut the battery cables of the car, ensuring that the power was off.

Ortiz’s girlfriend, 19-year-old Myra Flores, ran to him from the front of the school, where she was waiting for Ortiz to pick her up.

“When I came, his car was on fire,” said Flores, “but I knew he was OK because I saw him…”

Ortiz said that his Accord had never given him a problem until the incident.

After the fire was put out, a tow truck arrived on the scene at 6:58 p.m. to tow the charred car and take the couple home.

“We tried not to smile, but it’s hard when you love the job!” said Berg, referring to the pictures taken at the scene. “All in a days work, unfortunately the car is toast.”