Car left running as driver runs errand catches on fire, officials say

A car that was left running while a man ran into an east Madison store caught fire Monday, fire officials said.

The Madison Fire Department said crews responded to a report of a fire at about 6 p.m. in the 2200 block of South Stoughton Road.

According to the report, callers described heavy black smoke and fluid pouring from a vehicle parked in a lot along South Stoughton Road.

Officials said fire consumed the engine compartment as firefighters approached the vehicle. Just as the crew prepared to deploy the bumper line, a jet of pressurized flaming fluid sprayed to the ground from under the hood, indicating to firefighters that a fuel line blew. The crew forced open the hood and applied a foam-and-water mixture onto the fire, extinguishing it.

The owner told firefighters he left the car running while he stepped into a store. Due to ongoing battery issues, the owner was afraid that his car wouldn’t turn back on if he turned it off. When he returned from the store five minutes later, he found the vehicle on fire.

The fire didn’t appear to be suspicious.

The Fire Department said the cause of the fire wasn’t yet determined Tuesday, but firefighters noted that the car, a 2000 Grand Prix, was the subject of a recall issued in 2015 due to fire risk. According to the report, the owner had not taken the vehicle in for the prescribed recall-related repairs.