Engulfed in flames in less than 5 minutes

The car was only 5-6 years old.

The car was only 5-6 years old. Photo/Sent to mbl.is

“Naturally, afterwards you think: Jesus, what if we’d just been sitting around with the fire under us a little longer?” Margrét Ásta Ívarsdóttir tells mbl.is, but in a few minutes her family’s car caught fire.

Ívarsdóttir, her husband and their two youngest children were on their way home to Kópavogur from Akureyri on Monday night when suddenly an oil light on the car’s dashboard lit up.

“The car engine starts to malfunction so I drove off onto the shoulder,” says Ívarsdóttir, who was then just outside of Víðigerði near Hvammstangi.

She thought at that point that the car was breaking down.

Not a good idea to get the bags

She looked in the side mirror and saw smoke coming from under the car.

“You’ve heard so many times that cars catch fire. Somehow I was already sure the car was on fire. I ripped the children out of their belts, pulled them out in the back and we ran outside,” says Ívarsdóttir, adding that there was no visible fire at that point.

Her husband glanced under the car and saw that it was on fire. He got two suitcases out of the car quickly, but they were in the trunk. In hindsight, Margaret says, given how quickly the car caught fire, it was not a good idea.


"Suddenly the fire flared up"

"Then all of a sudden the fire flared up in full," she says, adding that almost immediately it was engulfed by the flames.

It took about two minutes from the moment the oil light came on until the family was out of the car.

"So maybe two or three minutes before the car is just up in flames."

Thus, only about five minutes passed since the oil light went on until the car caught was engulfed by the fire.

Children were terrified

The family immediately called the emergency responder when they saw the fire from underneath the vehicle. Margaret says that many cars drove past the family in those few minutes before their car caught fire.

“It made me really sad. Here we were — with smoke coming from the car — and the children shaking out of fear.”

However, when the car was clearly on fire, people stopped, including an off-duty policewoman.

She took over the scene, Ívarsdóttir said, and closed traffic in both directions.

“She was so nice that she picked us up in the car and dropped us off at home.”

Many people say there was almost nothing left of the car as the family left the scene.

Not an old car

The car was only five or six years old, according to Margaret. Furthermore, the family has taken the car to all the service examinations and oil changes.

So there really wasn't anything you could have done differently?

“No. So I just thought ‘how does this happen?’ But we’ll probably never get answers because there’s really nothing left to investigate.”


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