The Day the Car Blew Up (non-fiction)

You might have heard about my car. It is a pretty fun story in retrospect. Here’s what happened. My brother, my girlfriend and a salesperson of ours were driving down to Philadelphia. We were going down South Street in Weston, MA (this street leads from Brandeis U to the MassPike) when I saw a pipe sticking vertically out of the road. It was dark and I was going about 25 miles an hour. The pipe was about 10 feet in front of me. I had the opportunity to swerve out of the way, but thought the pipe would be smaller problem than a swerve. I slowed down a touch (didn’t want to throw the car forward slamming on the brakes) and didn’t even consider the pipe a real problem. We all heard a big crack as I drove over the pipe. I looked in the rear view mirror, saw a fireball and hit the brakes shouting “Get out of the car, get the f*ck out of the car.” We all got out and I watched the fireball travel up to the car erupting into a huge flame when it hit the car. Think Die Hard 2. The pipe had ripped a huge hole in the gas tank and started a spark (the trail of fire leading up to the car was at least 1.5 feet wide). The car was destroyed within 5 seconds of our getting out.

We were afraid that the salesperson was still in the car so my little brother tried to get back inside the burning car. Thankfully he failed. Thank G-d, everyone was fine.

The accident, which drew 6 fire vehicles, 1 police car and 1 ambulance. The chief fire inspector walked up to me afterwards and said, “Sir, were you driving the car.” I said, “Yes.” He then proceeded to explain that my gas tank had been leaking! It was a correct diagnosis, but still a very poor one. I pleasantly led him back to the pipe sticking out of the road and said, “Our gas tank started leaking here.” And indeed, you could see. The burn patch in the pavement was over a foot wide and it started right there.

Photos below!


The *good* side of the car. The otherside is far more messed up. That’s me seeing if I can get anything out. In particular, I was looking for my digital camera in some hope it had survived. It hadn’t.


You can see one of the components the pipe grabbed in the process of destroying the car.


This is my steering wheel.


A view through the front end of the car.


Where my girlfriend at the time was sitting.


The tire is in the car cause the fire department put it there.

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