Man reported dumping gas on SUV fire turns out to be driver trying to put it out

Firefighters were ordered to hang back as an SUV was consumed in flames, but it was all a misunderstanding.

SAN DIEGO — A misunderstanding forced South Bay firefighters to hang back as an SUV was consumed in flames Wednesday.

Witnesses first called about a burning SUV near Valley Ridge Street and Procter Valley Road in Chula Vista around 11:30 a.m. Callers said a man appeared to be pouring gasoline on a car and lighting it on fire, Chula Vista Fire Department Batt. Chief David Albright said.

Because it “sounded like initially it might have been a crime,” firefighters were ordered to keep their distance until police could investigate. But when officials were able to speak with the driver, they realized the blaze was caused by a mechanical issue and the driver had simply been pouring water on the flames.

Firefighters moved in and extinguished the fire, but the SUV was a total loss.

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