Mercedes SUV catches fire in parking garage

DOWNTOWN — A fire broke out inside an SUV that was parked in a parking structure Wednesday afternoon and sent plumes of smoke into the sky, officials said.

Glendale resident Kristina Sargsyan and her husband had finished lunch just after 3 p.m. Wednesday and were walking back to their Mercedes SUV, which was parked inside a parking structure on Orange Street and Broadway, when they saw their SUV on fire, she said.

“We just saw all this smoke coming out, and we couldn’t open it,” she said while in tears.

Three Glendale Fire Department engines, two fire trucks, one rescue ambulance and a battalion chief arrived at the parking structure and quickly put out the flames inside the SUV, Battalion Chief Tom Propst said.

The fire began inside the SUV from the back compartment and spread to the front, he said.

The cause of the fire remained undetermined Wednesday, but Propst said it may have started from an electrical short.

Many car fires start because of electrical shortages and it is “fairly common,” he said.

Glendale firefighters also often respond to car engine fires, which are generally started because of damaged wires, Propst said.

Sargsyan’s husband told firefighters that the SUV had been at the auto repair shop for several days, Propst said.

Her husband also noticed that the SUV’s compartment was full of water earlier Wednesday, Sargsyan said.

“I don’t know what happened,” Sargsyan said.

Firefighters take several precautions when they respond to car fires, especially when a car is parked inside a parking structure, Propst said.

Since Sargsyan’s SUV was parked next to two cars, firefighters made sure that they surrounded the fire and prevented it from spreading to the other cars, he said.

They also ventilated the parking structure and cleared the smoke from the fire, so that firefighters were able to see the blaze as they put it out.

 VERONICA ROCHA covers public safety and the courts. She may be reached at (818) 637-3232 or by e-mail at veronica.rocha@

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