SUV catches fire and is totaled after July 4 parade, cracking and breaking out Withers Lumber windows

As usual, July 4 is always a fun day with lots of excitement. However, this year a car fire brought its own excitement after Molalla held its giant parade. The SUV was parked in front of Withers Lumber and just after noon began to smoke through the defrost vents.

"Within seconds it was engulfed in flames," said Mitch Ruska, manager of the lumber yard. "But reports it was fireworks or someone set it on fire are totally wrong. It looked like it had to do with the electrical system."

PIONEER PHOTO: CAROL ROSEN - The July 4 fire damaged the front of the Withers Lumber building.

The heat from the car cracked several windows, and the cold water from the firefighters' hoses ruined another, Ruska said.

Smoke filled the building, but open windows and the back door helped clear all the smoke from the building.

The sign was melted and blackened, but other than that and the windows, damage was limited.

"We were very lucky. This is our 90th year and the Molalla and Colton fire departments were here within a few minutes and made short work of the blaze," Ruska said.

But he was pleased there was no actual fire damage to the building and felt the firefighters had done good work. Ruska wanted to thank Andy McBride from Cascade NW Construction, who arrived on the scene early and helped employees board up the windows.

Molalla's Fire Chief Vince Stafford was unavailable for comment this week.

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