Palmview Officials Suspect Phone Sparked Fire Inside Vehicle
PALMVIEW – Palmview fire officials said a cell phone may have sparked a fire that destroyed a woman’s vehicle.
The owner of the SUV didn’t want to appear on camera. She explained she parked her vehicle, went inside her home and later discovered her car burning.
Authorities said the fire didn’t spread under the hood.
Palmview Fire Marshal Roberto Ochoa said it appears the fire originated from a phone that was left sitting in the seat of the car.
The fire official wasn’t available for an interview. So, we contacted Edinburg Fire Marshal Omar Garza and showed him pictures of the burned car.
Garza pointed out that the passenger side where the phone was left is burned much worse than the driver side.
“You can tell by the way the vehicle was burned. The area with the most damage is 99 percent where the fire originated at,” he said.
Palmview crews said the phone measured higher temperatures than other parts of the car. Garza also showed us the thermo-imagery his crews use.
“In fire investigations, this tool may be used to look at a fuse box and see if the box is still hot afterwards. But it’s one of the many tools used, not only in firefighting but to investigate them also,” he said.
Garza said the device wouldn’t be able to tell if an electronic device actually caught fire. He said only private labs can confirm that.
The Palmview family said the vehicle was only about a year old. They said the phone was a Samsung model.
Most city fire marshals will only determine whether or not a fire is accidental or arson. It the incident is deemed accidental, officials will report where they believe the fire started and what they believe may have caused it.
Insurance companies will usually help if a private lab is needed to test an electronic device for malfunction.
Count on CHANNEL 5 NEWS to bring you the latest in this investigation.
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