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Fire damages 10 cars in UVU parking lot

Sep 20, 2022, 6:58 PM | Updated: 7:13 pm

OREM, Utah — Fire investigators determined an engine malfunction was to blame in a fire that destroyed three cars and damaged several others in a parking lot at the Utah Valley University campus over the weekend.

“When you get dispatched to a car fire, you expect one unit involved and then you quickly find out that it’s multiple cars involved,” said Assistant Chief Shaun Hirst of the Orem Fire Department.

UVU police notified firefighters of the fire at approximately 5 a.m. Saturday. It happened just outside the National Guard building on the west side of UVU’s campus.

When firefighters arrived, they found three cars engulfed in flames, including one with a U.S. government license plate and another with propane tanks inside.

Firefighters knocked down the flames, which destroyed three cars and damaged seven other vehicles. All of them were shut off and parked.

Hirst described the scene as unusual – but not suspicious.

“Not common. It is not common that we see a car that’s been sitting all night, catch fire.”

“I think the biggest thing is we just want to know what happened,” Todd Roberts said.

Roberts’ brother had just found his motorcycle vandalized outside his apartment that morning. When he called it into police, he learned about the fire at the parking lot next to the complex.

Roberts said it was later that day that he realized, “Oh, crap. My car was burned.”

Investigators point to a Ford recall in 2017 that involved some models having issues with their engines catching fire due to a lack of coolant circulation.

Investigators believe the fire started under the hood of a 2014 Ford Focus. They said the driver had traveled some distance from out of the county the night before it caught fire.

“If there are recalls, seek out the help to get those taken care of. I think that could have helped in this event,” Hirst said.

Hirst said no one was injured in the fire.

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Fire damages 10 cars in UVU parking lot