Woodchuck starts car fire in Steamboat Springs, flees scene, later apprehended | VailDaily.com

Woodchuck starts car fire in Steamboat Springs, flees scene, later apprehended

Matt Stensland
Steamboat Today

Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue firefighters Isaiah Hartman, front, and Brian McGovern work to extinguish a vehicle fire in the Steamboat Today parking lot Wednesday afternoon. The driver was not injured, and firefighters quickly extinguished the fire.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Firefighters suspect a nest built by a woodchuck caused a car to catch fire Thursday.

Shortly after 4 p.m., Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue firefighters were called to the Steamboat Today parking lot, where a 1993 white Toyota 4Runner was on fire.

The driver had just picked up the car at a ranch, where it had been sitting for awhile. The driver was taking it to get registered when the fire started in the engine compartment. The driver was able to pull over and get out of the car uninjured.

People in the area helped knock down the fire with extinguishers.

The woodchuck was seen fleeing the scene, and there was some concern that it might start another fire because the animal was on fire. On Thursday, a Steamboat Today employee spotted the woodchuck in front of the building. It was badly burned, and wildlife officials were notified.

The woodchuck had to be euthanized.

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To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@steamboattoday.com or follow him on Twitter @sbtstensland.