Rats set fire to New York car while Tony Hawk films it

"I smelled roadkill."

Rats get a pretty bad rap, friends. Aside from, you know, the whole plague thing there are countless stories of woe and destruction sown by rats. Not even the heroic Pizzarat or Master Splinter could rehabilitate their reputation at this point. Now another blow has been delivered to the reputation of the nation's rats as a pack of the creatures torched a guy's Volkswagen in New York during his morning commute.

According to PIX11, Alec Steinfeld left his VW sitting for a week near his place in Brooklyn. Not an uncommon thing in New York, where the public transit is good and the traffic is terrible. Finally, he hopped in the car to drive into Manhattan and almost immediately noticed something was wrong.

"When I started driving initially, I smelled roadkill," Steinfeld told PIX11.

That didn't stop him, though, and despite the smell he made for Manhattan. By the time he got to the Lower East Side, Steinfeld was faced with a serious problem – an engine fire.

"It seemed like my engine was overheating, and then all of a sudden it started catching fire," he said. "I tried to open up my hood, and there were two baby dead rats on the ledge, so there was a lot of confusion."

Apparently, while the VW was parked, an army of rats moved in and chewed up so many hoses and wires under the hood that they caused a fire. Also, if the "it smelled like roadkill" thing is anything to go by, at least one rat got chewed up in his serpentine belt and/or roasted on the engine. Gross.

Steinfeld quickly called 911, but by the time the New York Fire Department arrived, the front end of the car was engulfed in flame. As he stood there watching his wheels burn to the ground, Steinfeld noticed that one of the bystanders filming the scene was pro-skater and all-around cool dude Tony Hawk. He got the whole thing on video and immediately posted it to his Instagram account. Steinfeld grabbed a selfie with Hawk, which, along with the story and brief instant of fame, is at least some consolation for the poor guy.

All but one of the rats were reported missing or killed. The one survivor that refused to leave stayed huddled inside one of the VW's wheels and was there even as the car was towed away.

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