A video on YouTube edited and narrated by a staff writer for the Salem News proves what you already know – that you are good people.
Local members of the Free Souls Motorcycle Club and the Gypsy Jokers Motorcycle Club were at a party in Salem, Oregon last Friday night when the men smelled smoke and noticed a burning SUV in a driveway two houses away. As the fire began to spread, patch holders ran to house, alerted the residents and tried to put out the fire with a garden hose. One of them, Mike Kondash, took the video.
Because the bikers were right there, the house in the 3500 block of Hawthorne Ave NE in Salem was only scorched. The SUV looks totaled.
Tim King wrote the story for the News. The YouTube watch code is “ot_svNWI66A.”
There are more than a quarter million auto fires in the United States every year. The fires kill more than 500 people annually and the problem seems to be getting worse.
In 2006, after years of inaction and numerous formal complaints, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) finally recalled 600,000 Ford Escapes and Mazda Tributes because a defect in the vehicles antilock braking system electronic control module had a nasty tendency to spontaneously combust.
Earlier in the decade, a cruise control shut off switch in Ford Expeditions, F-150 trucks and Lincoln Navigators also sometimes burst into flames.
Last year the NHTSA investigated but did not recall a potential defect in Chevrolet Tahoes and Silverados, GMC Yukons and Cadillac Escalades that makes them unpredictably ignite.
The easy light SUV is not now as well known as the problem that makes Toyotas go all Christine but it is probably more serious. Investigators and manufacturers of the vehicles are officially mystified. The fires usually occur after the SUV has been parked in a driveway or garage. Insurance companies like to accuse the vehicles’ owners of arson. And, because the problem is obscure, the insurers usually get away with denying the owner’s claim.
Free Souls Fire Department
But this time, because of the video evidence, the insurance company might not try that. If you look at the video you will see that the house was only saved because the bikers were there and acted like responsible neighbors.
After about three minutes, after the fire was mostly out, the gentleman holding the garden hose (Mike Murdoch in the video still above by Mike Kondash) greeted the Salem Fire Department with a good natured cry of, “Free Souls Fire Department.”
They did not greet him back. But then at least they did not try to blame the fire on him. The owners seemed very grateful for the helping hand.