CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — A north Charlotte home suffered damage with a destroyed garage after a woman’s simple car jumpstarting mistake.
Charlotte firefighters say a woman hooked up the battery cables incorrectly, causing the batteries to explode and spark the fire in her garage Monday afternoon.
“I would say that garage fires are the most common fires that happen during the winter,” said Derek Phillips, an insurance adjuster with InterClaim.
But this type of garage fire Monday is rare.
“I smelled the smoke, and I looked, and I saw the blackened house on the side, and I said, ‘Something’s wrong,” neighbor Hung Chau said.
Firefighters say the garage had two parked cars in it. A woman was trying to get her car to start, so she hooked up the jumper cables, but she mismatched them, causing the batteries to explode and ignite the fire.
“It’s a bad situation for the family, especially in the winter. There’s just so many fires,” Phillips said.
Firefighters say the woman didn’t know about the fire right away because they say she went inside the house after setting up the jumper cables. Luckily, her dog started barking and alerted her first before the smoke alarms went off.
“What came to my mind was it’s going to cost a lot of money to fix it,” Chau said.
Charlotte Fire says the fire caused about $77,000 in damage.
An insurance adjuster says fires caused by jumper cable mishaps are not exactly common, but they’re not unheard of either.
“I have a client in South Carolina, the exact same situation where her son was jumping the car in the driveway, and the flames, when they start, they happen fast, it’s not like a small, burning fire,” said Phillips.
Some jumper boxes on the market give you a warning if you get the cables in the wrong spot. In a blog post, Safetycompany.com said that if you’re jumping your car, remove your jewelry and wear protective eye gear. It’s also important not to leave the vehicle unattended and turn off both cars before connecting positive, then negative cables.