You haven’t lived “surreal” till you step over flames as you exit your vehicle and then - proceed to watch it entertain flames of varying levels for an hour or so, turning – not so slowly – into a crispy-critter of different textures, colors and oh-so-horrifous (??) odors (probably cyanide, among other chemicals, attesting to my clogged respiratory, head-achy and irritated breathing for several days).…
So was my day, Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013.
Going to a friend’s house to sew – can be an exhilarating experience! I was about a mile from this house when our cute, pretty – did I mention…well-maintained…2002 Ford Ranger, lost power. It coasted for about 3 or 4 minutes then…directly under my seat I clearly heard…
-“POOF” (EVERY HUMAN INNATELY UNDERSTANDS POOF!!)
-immediate smoke rising outside my windshield in front of the steering wheel.
As anyone recalls who has experienced a traumatic moment, time immediately splits into two factions which – somehow, work in perfect sync. It took about 3.5 hours to turn the key off as I stared at the ‘forever’ steering wheel. Then, another 4 hours to un-belt myself. This ‘slow time’ feels like a dream, a slo-mo of unreal, oh-so-safe cocoon-time. All through this probably 2 seconds of real-time, a constant screaming can be OVER-heard in the background, very similar to…”WHY are you NOT at least 1 mile AWAY from here yet???!!!”(Four letter words removed!) But I digress…
I stepped over the flames coming from under the cab, jumped away from the truck (into the other lane of traffic, I later recalled, WITHOUT LOOKING!), only to see the cab on fire as well as two car lengths of flaming road behind the truck
This ‘innate’ human fear of fire again kicked in and I can assure you –that at 66 years of age – I can STILL outrun any track team member – ANYWHERE on this planet!
….Looked back once – “STILL ON FIRE!” Ran some more, knowing that absolutely – at any second, I would feel the blast that would emanate from our – now, ball of roaring fire! Adrenaline is so over-reactive!
At some point a car stopped and called 911. The next hour or so was spent chattering with any/all of the emergency personnel attending to our used-to-be cute little trick, as the 472.5 MACRO grams of adrenaline hijacked my body...for several hours.
All nervous joking aside, life goes on. That ‘circle of life’ so poignantly reverberated throughout the soundtrack from “The Lion King” video, recently posted on this blog, continues. By the next day, the event was fading and though the traumatic memory haunts me, and will for a long time, the reality of the actual event 'cools'.
We’ve contacted FORD, have a 'claim #', and still await their response. My communication to them included:
- Request for them to ascertain the cause of this outrageous occurrence to a well-maintained, excellent running vehicle with under 140,000 miles on its odometer.
- payment for the remainder of my personal items loss of $700; (total was $900 of which our insurance paid $200).
- some sort of additional compensation to be discussed…
As I mentioned, thus far, there is NO response from FORD. We have always been "FORD people', jokingly entertaining all the old sayings from childhood: "Found on road dead", "Fix or repair daily", etc. And truthfully, we would care to entertain a new FORD replacement. (So far, a SUBARU Outback is on 'the list'). But without a cause for the fire, using another FORD vehicle would leave me haunted with the possibility of this happening to ANY Ford product, regardless of age and/or condition.
This fire should NEVER have occurred. Our RANGER was well-maintained, regularly oiled about every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, kept washed; in general, was the ‘apple’ of my DH’s eye. WAS...being the operative term!
We await a response from FORD Motor Company.
All you folks with 2002 FORD Rangers…might want to check under the cab to ascertain that all connections to the gas tank are in tight, working order!