From our second floor office, overlooking the intersection of Woodmont and Norfolk avenues in Bethesda, I’ve seen many things out of our floor to ceiling windows. A few years ago I watched as one of my kids ran the red light right in front of our office; a few months ago I watched a grown man cry when he arrived at his car, that was about to be towed away. After crying, he yanked open the door of the tow truck and started punching the driver. The police were called.
Late Friday afternoon, I looked out the window and saw a Volvo station wagon parked on Woodmont Avenue engulfed in flames. The fire was concentrated on the inside of the car and never spread to the engine. A fire truck from the Bethesda station arrived in a few minutes and parked about 30 feet from the car. A fireman had a hose unfurled and was soaking the car with foam about 60 seconds later. He didn’t flinch when there were several small explosions. In fact, within seconds he was standing right next to the car.
My wife, Susan, who is my partner in the business, ran downstairs and took this picture standing in front of Starbucks with her cell phone.
After the fire was out, I found the driver, a young Silver Spring woman who was on her way to pick up her kids after work. Sitting on a brick wall in Veteran’s Park, she told me that she had noticed smoke coming out of the dashboard and pulled over immediately. Within seconds, the car was in flames. “I didn’t even have time to get the double stroller out of the back,” she said.
Obviously shaken, the woman kept wondering what would have happened if the fire had happened a few minutes later, when her kids would have been in the car.