According to WEWS, firefighters in Willoughby, OH, say that the fire that destroyed a minivan during Saturday's snowstorm was caused by the driver's efforts to free the vehicle from a snowed in parking lot.
Chuck Pulaski, the manager at Safeway Tire Service in Cleveland told reporters that while this wasn't the first fire he'd seen caused by deep snow, it was definitely the worst. Pulaski said that many of these fires are started by the car's catalytic converter, which can overheat due to rocking the vehicle back and forth to extract it.
"You can see it's centrally located in the car and that can get hot," Pulaski told WEWS. "And if there's no heat shielding around it, it can actually set the floor of the car on fire."
Another danger to motorists in the winter, although not a fire-related one, is snow packing a vehicle's exhaust pipe. This causes exhaust gasses to back up and fill the cabin with toxic fumes. Pulaski told reporters that, in the case of deep snow and seriously stuck cars, it's best to call in the professionals.
"If you get stuck in a snow bank call a tow truck," he said. "It's just the easiest way to do it. It's better than ending up with thousands of dollars in damages or a hospital bill or a fatality."