Friday FAIL: Warming up Your Van with Charcoal is NEVER a Good Idea

Charcoal Van Burnt

Unless you want to grill some food.

The early portion of this week was pretty awful if you lived in Canada or the United States thanks to the “Polar Vortex” that had sub-zero temperatures freezing everything from roadways to Niagara Falls. The chilly air even inspired people to try and throw boiling water into the air in an attempt to freeze the water before it hit the ground. What they got instead were third-degree burns.

One woman in Wisconsin, however, thought she had a brilliant way to warm her car up in the cold – by using charcoal.

In the town of Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin, things were pretty cold as temperatures hit minus 23-degrees. It was so cold that many vehicles wouldn’t start. One woman’s 2007 Dodge Caravan just would not start in the cold, so she removed the battery and brought it inside to warm it up a bit. That wasn’t a bad idea, but after she reinstalled the toasty battery, she decided that the next best thing would be to warm up the engine using charcoal.


Engine Bay

She put a small mound of charcoal beneath the engine and started a fire, hoping to get the engine bay all nice and warm like the automotive equivalent to a cup of hot cocoa. The hot coals caused the undercarriage to catch fire and the bumper to melt, causing about $1,000 of damage.

Luckily nobody was injured and no citations were issued. The Lac du Flambeau Police Chief, Robert Brandenburg, said that he tried the charcoal trick to warm up his car before, but didn’t advise others to attempt the trick.

Source: WSAW News
Photos: Courtesy of Lac du Flambeau Tribal Police Department

On a scale of 1-10, how big of a FAIL is this arctic charcoal car fire?


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