Worthington firefighters battle car blaze with a new tool: shovels

When a fire extinguisher proved insufficient, Worthington Fire Chief Pat Shorter got creative, likely preventing a house fire.

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Worthington Fire Chief Pat Shorter captured this image of a vehicle engulfed in flames when he arrived on the scene Saturday morning.
Submitted photo

WORTHINGTON — The Worthington Fire Department was dispatched to the 1500 block of Clary Street shortly before 8:30 a.m. Saturday for a car fire.

Fire Chief Pat Shorter said the vehicle was parked right next to the house, which was cause for concern. The fire originated in the engine bay and had spread to the vehicle’s interior by the time he arrived.

As the first on the scene, Shorter used a fire extinguisher on the blaze, but it didn’t control the blaze. With concerns about the house catching on fire, Shorter — along with Worthington Police Officer Tyler Olson — each grabbed shovels from their vehicles and began shoveling snow on the engine, tire area and interior.

“It didn’t stop the fire, but sure put its head down,” Shorter said of their quick-thinking action. “We shoveled snow as fast as we could until we had a truck show up on scene.”

Firefighter Ryan Loomans ran Engine 3 and Shorter said everyone did their part to extinguish the fire before it reached the house.


“That would have been a house fire, without question, if things didn’t go our way,” Shorter said.

The family inside the home was alerted to the fire when the horn started honking. Children looked out the window, saw the blaze and told their mom, who called 9-1-1.

Shorter said firefighters were on the scene for about 40 minutes, and the cause of the fire is undetermined.

“The entire department did an excellent job of handling the situation,” Shorter said. “Tyler did a great job too.

“Without shovels and snow, it could have been a whole different situation,” he added.

The Worthington Fire Department was also dispatched to a vehicle fire on Sunday afternoon in the 300 block of 13th Street. In that instance, Shorter said the fire was in the alternator and the fire was fairly minor.

Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.
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