Lost my Bug to an engine fire today

About 2pm EST today something in the engine bay caused a fire in the Bug and now it's future is up in the air. I'm sorry Beetle. I had spent a couple hours this morning washing and cleaning up both
the Bug and the GTI. Afterwards I parked them behind my building for a couple hours. Around 2pm I came home from running some errands and decided to move them back around to their normal parking spaces. Started with the Bug. It didn't want to start and then I realized that the gas pedal was all the way down on the floor. Then I saw smoke coming into the car, got out, and saw more pouring out from around the engine. Reached inside quickly, grabbed my fire extinguisher and fired it but that was about effective as a can of soda being thrown on the Broad Street Fire of months ago. (A major fire that spread over multiple city blocks that we had in Richmond back in March.) So I quickly moved the GTI which by then was and still is covered in the powdery shit from the fire extinguisher. Pulled it out of the way across the street and then headed back to the car. Tried using the hose from the car washing station nearby but the hose wouldn't reach. So I called 911. Took me 3 or 4 tries before the goddamn phone would put the call through. (Fuck Verizon.) By this time, my mom who had just come home and seen the fire as she came in, also couldn't get her phone to reach 911 called inside the house to my brother (This call incidentally went right through.) and told him to call 911. Evidentally reached them and after what seemed like forever the Fire Department showed up and put the fire out (I'm not ashamed to it admit it - I sat on the curb and cried while they put it out.) and soaked up fuel that was leaking everywhere. I ended up having it towed up VW Motor Rebuilders in Ashland so they can assess the damage. From my preliminary check it looks like the engine is completely gone (obviously), the rear window blew out from the heat, paint is peeled back back, decklid is gone, headliner is gone, and some smoke and water damage to the rest of the interior. Assuming the metal on the rear apron isn't warped, it looks like it can be repaired eventually. Unfortunately I didn't have insurance to cover something like this (only liability) and even if it had, its doubtful the insurance company would have given me much at all for it. Its probably not worth it to fix it but this car has never been about the money. Sentimental value is a strong thing and I'll be damned if I'm going to give this car up without a fight. I just graduated from college though and money tight right now so it might be a while before I can do much about it. Pictures of the damage can be found here: http://ramsites.net/~rewjl/BeetleFire/BeetleFire.html I know its kind of hard to tell from the pictures but opinions on if it can saved would be appreciated.
-Jeff
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Engine Fires Suck...
So sorry to hear about your loss...but to be honest...I think that with enough time and money, you might be able to save your Beetle. It doesn't look to bad...I mean, compared to some engine fires, it could have been much, much worse.

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Thank God you weren't hurt, but I am so sorry about your bug. Although I'm just getting into the VW scene, I agree with Pete. It could have been much worse. I say clean, fix and repair your bug.
Susan 74 Std Betty

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On Sun, 27 Jun 2004 03:31:05 GMT, Jeff Rew wrote:

I think it is probably savable... If you're willing to put the time and money into it. I can relate to the sentimental value thing - I still regret giving up my '62 sedan after it caught fire (I still have pieces of the melted carburator, keys, and a door handle :)
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Tom Shelton

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See...Tom's already on his way to rebuilding his '62 Sedan!

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On Sun, 27 Jun 2004 04:18:12 GMT, Pete Cressman wrote:

Now I just need a pan, a body, a motor, a tranny, .....
Seriously, it was my first beetle - and I do miss the car. The car was probably fixable - but at the time I was a poor college student with a wife and 3 kids. I just couldn't spare the time or funds. I do wish I had put it into storage though, instead of sending it to the bone yard.
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Looks like it can be fixed.
You need a new decklid. I'd give you my extra lid if I lived anywhere near you.
The roof isn't too badly burned, as far as I can see. And that's your main concern. Almost anything else on teh body is relatively easy to replace.
Once the sheetmetal parts have gone through a hot fire like the lid, it will never be ok. (In my opinion).
I don't suppose your insurance covers the damage? Or part of it?
Jan
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Unfortunately, I had only had liability insurance on it. Even if I'd had coverage for fire or other accidental damage, its doubtful they would have given me much for it. Thanks for the offer of a decklid though. ME and some friends will be cleaning it up and assessing it soon. I'll be sure to post plenty of photos for opinions.
Jan Andersson wrote:

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Jeff wrote:

Jeff: Very sorry to hear that. Hope you can get the bug on the road again sometime soon. Keep checking back on Ramva if you need advice or moral support.
Bill Berckman 67 Beetle
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Hey guy, Your car can be fixed, you now know how important it is to make sure your fuel lines are set up right,. Don't give up. you did indeed learn a painful lesson, with some time and money, you and your Bug will be back on the road again, better than before . Douglas

sometime
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My opinion would be to act quick, at least for the metalwork. If it was mine, i would have the metalwork sandblasted and undercoated, this because the water and other stuff used to put the fire out will start to rust the metal up very quickly. Remove the water inside as soon as possible for the same reason. Are you sure the engine is gone? i think he can be saved, maybe new carb, dist, fuel pump and lines and some other parts and tinwork. Hard to say how hot it became. I would fix it.
Bart Bervoets

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I had it towed to a local VW shop yesterday afternoon (VW Motor Rebuilders in Ashland, Virginia) just put it somewhere for the time being. I'm going to have them assess it and probably drain the fuel and vacuum out any water in it. After that it'll be towed down to my cousin's house or some other storage place until I have money to fix it. As for the metalwork, yea, some people from my local club (http://www.RichmondDubs.com ) have offered to help me clean it up and primer the metal as soon as possible.
Bart Bervoets wrote:

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Maaan! thats terrible! I'm so sorry for you and your bug, but hopefully the car is reparable. Can you guess what could be the reason for this fire? I read that you used the fire extinguisher without success, how come? what kind of fire extinguisher did you use?
Ant
Jeff Rew wrote in this friggin' newsgroup:

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I had a standard multipurpose fire extinguisher. I think the fire erupted rather quickly and I tried to put it out by shooting the extinguisher through the air intakes on the decklid. I wasn't about to try to open said decklid since I didn't know if the fire would blow up in my face or something. By the time the fire crew arrived and popped the decklid the engine was engulfed in a solid mass of flames.
Ant wrote:

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Sorry to hear about your bug.
Unfortunately you and many with you have seen to many action movies(Shaggie comes to mind), there is nothing to blow up in your face.. The fuel tank is at the front of the car, and even with a fuel hose totaly disconected it will only burn at the end of the line as long as there is fuel in the line. Had you opened the hood and aimed straight at the source you would have saved your bug, absolutely no doubth about it!(This from how you stated how little time passed from you spotted it til you had your extinguisher out). Harsch words? Perhaps, but the truth though...
In school we taken out by the fire depatement and thougt how to put out gazoline fires with a powder extinguisher, not much to it..
Best of luck re-building, considder replacing all sheat metall burnt, as the smoke from plastics etc. is extremely corrosive and will eat through any paint applied to it.
J.

Can
what
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What about the sudden intake of oxygen when the deck is opened? Isn't that stuff on page one of firefighter's school, don't open doors in a burning building?
While a beetle's engine room is designed to get lots of fresh air inside it, I would imagine the same principle could apply. Probably wouldn't trigger a detonation, but I could see it giving you a very smelly haircut.
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That was my reasoning behind not opening the decklid. And I had a latch that was locked so I'm not sure I would have been able to get it open without getting burned.
Seth Graham wrote:

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wrote:

movies(Shaggie
totaly
If the fire is in the starting stage, then there is no danger openning the lid. You should be fast and carefull when openning it.
If the fire had been burning for several minutes, then it would be very dangerous to open the lid by hand. You risk burning your face - hair - inhalling flames. There is no risk of explosion though. In that case, you have to find a way to open the lid from a distance e.g. by unlatching the hood and then using a stick or a piece of cable to open it. Use a blanket to protect yourself. Using a powder or foam extinguiser through the air vents is loss of valuable time.
Bill, '67 Bug.
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wrote:

movies(Shaggie
totaly
The engine bay is to well vented for that to happen..
J.
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Sorry about your bug. Looks good from the front tho.
your situation reminds me that I *really* need to put some clamps on my inline fuel filter.... which yes, I know, is in the wrong place.
lane
Jeff Rew wrote:

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