Interviews

Car Burned at Mission Valley

Usually during Thanksgiving or Christmas, the Camino Del Rio North exit off of the 8 freeway is super busy. The westbound transition can be dangerous if one isn’t paying attention to their speed and the one-lane bottleneck coming off of the 805 freeways.

On Sunday at 1:30 p.m., the source of the congestion was not solely due to the influx of shoppers, but because of a burning car inside the Westfield Mission Valley mall parking lot.

“Our car smelled and when we parked, we looked into the front and it was smoking,” said the driver. Her and her passenger, who wanted to remain anonymous, said that they were visiting San Diego State University from Germany.

“It was smoking really bad,” said Chuck Silvia, 49, “and she waved us down – they needed help calling the fire department.”

Silvia said that the girls asked him to talk to the dispatcher because the two girls “did not speak very good English.”

The grayish-silver, mid-size, four-door Chevrolet caught on fire by Target and Outback Steakhouse. The car was parked facing Interstate 8 and slowed down traffic on both sides of the freeway.

There was a lot of gray smoke coming from the car and about twenty random shoppers had their phones drawn taking photos and video.

“And then next thing you know there were flames coming out of it and we told her to back up,” Silvia said. “Luckily the fire was in the front, it was away from the gas.”

The cars on the left and right side of the Chevy were covered with suit and white powdery looking remnants from the extinguishers used prior to the fire department pulling up. Random people and security were assessing the fire before the fire truck arrived.

“They got here in five minutes after I called,” Silvia said, “these guys are America’s greatest right there.”

There were about three security guards on the scene. Bruce Ramirez was one of them talking into a walkie talkie.

“Just to let you know, there is no media allowed,” said Ramirez, “you can be off (of) the property.”

Silvia said that during the twenty minutes, there were no accidents on the freeway due to rubbernecking, ” but there were a bunch of people honking trying to out of the way.”

By approximately 1:36 p.m. the fire was fully extinguished and the engine-bay of the Chevy appeared burned.

“They are all bummed, now they have to get another rent a car,” Silvia said, “I’ve never see a car catch on fire like that.”