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Investigators believe hybrid car may have sparked house fire

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BALLWIN, MO (KTVI) - A Ballwin family is forced out of their home in the middle of the night after fire engulfs part of their house.

“The firefighters upon their arrival, they had a heavy volume of fire on the exterior of the structure. It was certainly a major fire at that point,” said Metro West Fire Protection District spokesperson Mike Thiemann about the fire at a ranch home on Holshire Way in Ballwin.

Firefighters from four departments rushed to the home when the call came in just after 2:00 a.m.

It took crews nearly a half hour to get the fire under control.

The flames did significant damage to the back of the home.

Investigators believe a hybrid car which was parked just outside the garage caused the fire.

Investigators say there was some sort of electrical problem in the charging system.

“Basically the electrical system always has current going through it whether it be static or not. Something happened to where it malfunctioned, caught the car on fire,” said Thiemann.

Neighbors heard explosions; possibly from the tires, the airbag, or even the battery.

John Kemp heard them two blocks away.

“Turned on the TV, was watching TV and next thing I knew I heard a big boom. I thought my furnace blew up. And I got up, looked around, everything was fine, next thing I knew I heard another explosion,” Kemp said.

Crews spent hours boarding up the home.

A man, his wife, and their two young daughters—ages three and five—were all inside when the fire started.

They all got out ok after the husband smelled smoke and the smoke alarms went off.

“The mother and father did an extraordinary job as parents getting the children out in a safe area. So we’re very proud and happy that they’re all safe,” Thiemann said.

Authorities say the fire was purely accidental and there is nothing suspicious.

They also tell us they don`t think the car problem that happened in this case is indicative of a larger issue with hybrid cars.

There were no injuries reported in the fire.