Portable air compressor starts car fire

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

BELLEVILLE, IL (KTVI) – The front of Dominique Reid’s SUV is pretty much a pile of melted metal. Her husband was using a portable air compressor to fill a tire when the fire started. He ran an errand and left the compressor running.

“All I saw was the whole front of the car was on fire, and the smoke was rolling,” she said.

Neighbor Kris Armstrong knocked on Reid’s door to make sure she got out of the house before flames reached her front door.

Armstrong grabbed his 100-foot garden hose and started shooting water on the flames.

“The flames were probably up to her soffit area, and I started knocking it down,” said Armstrong.

He praised firefighters for quickly responding and making sure the fire was contained.

Belleville Fire Chief Tom Pour said the compressor likely overheated and sparked the fire. He said the device contained a warning label indicating it could catch fire if left unattended or running continuously for at least 10 minutes.

“No matter what kind of equipment someone is using, they shouldn’t go and leave something unattended,” said Pour. “Anything that generates heat should always be attended while you’re using it.”

Reid believes the compressor was left unattended for only a few minutes.

“I would not buy another one of these,” she said. “I’m just going to the gas station or a tire place and let them air it up for me.”

Reid was thankful no one was hurt.