Halifax real estate agent Mike Arthur was hoping for an uneventful return to work after suffering a heart attack last week.
Instead, he was forced to fight a losing battle with a fire in the trunk of his BMW Monday morning, a blaze that gutted his vehicle within seconds of him discovering smoke coming from the rear.
It all started shortly after 10 a.m. at the traffic lights near his office parking lot on Bayers Road. Arthur was stopped for a red light when he noticed white smoke in his rearview mirrors.
"Must have been the engine gone or burning oil," he thought initially.
But the smoke quickly started filling the inside of his car. He said he didn't drive more than 15 metres before it was so bad inside his car he couldn't breathe.
"I opened up both front windows and I pulled in here out of the way and jumped out, opened up my trunk and there were flames in the trunk," he said.
Arthur had pulled his BMW into a parking spot at the Petro Canada service station adjacent to his work. Fortunately, he picked the spot furthest away from the gas pumps and the building.
"I ran into the PetroCan to get a fire extinguisher and I thought I had the fire out, but someone asked me a question and I turned around and spoke to them for just a second and the guy said there's still a flame," Arthur said. "I turned around again and the trunk was on fire, and the next thing you know inside the cabin the flames are coming up there."
He ran in to borrow a second extinguisher but was advised to stay well back because of a possible explosion. A fire crew responded almost immediately from a station that's within sight of the Petro Canada, but Arthur said there was little anyone could do to save his car.
"The damage was done once it was burning."
Heart attack last week
He said he doesn't know why the fire started, but wonders if it has something to do with the car battery, which is located in the rear of his BMW.
Despite the drama, Arthur still considers this a better week than last.
"Could have been worse. I had a heart attack last week, so at least I'm fixed," he said. "I'm on blood thinners and whatever else, although Jesus my nitroglycerin is in the car!
"There's always something, eh?"