Man burned after car catches fire in driveway - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

Car burns in driveway; homeowner doesn't know vehicle's occupant

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MESA, Ariz. -

A fiery mess in front of a Mesa home is also a mystery -- a car was found burning in a driveway with a man inside the vehicle, but the homeowner has no idea who the person is.

This happened around 1 a.m. Monday near Alma School and Baseline Roads.

"From what the firemen said, he fell asleep and whatever the car was running.. heated up and started on fire," said Robert Gengler, who pointed out where the car sat in his driveway -- burning.

Gengler took photos with his cell phone -- proof of just how close to home the danger was.

"It was all smoke.. no flames.. all smoke," he said.

It was around midnight when Gengler said he was sleeping, awakened by his neighbor pounding on his front door, alerting him of what was happening.  The car in the driveway was unfamiliar to the homeowner and at first, no one -- even first responders, knew there was someone inside.

"They finally got things under control. They looked in and they saw him in there and they pulled him out," said Mesa Fire Dept. Capt. Jim Barnhnart.  "It was difficult to get him out of the vehicle, but we just maintained keeping the fire in check, kept putting the fire out and just kept working to get him out of the vehicle."

According to the homeowner, the majority of damage appears to have taken place in the attic.

"They had to poke a hole in the roof and they had to get my neighbors.. wake him."

Gengler, who is hard of hearing, says he's lucky to be alive, grateful the man across the street woke him, but the rest is unknown.  The debris in the driveway and the pictures add to the mystery.

"I don't have a clue.  I never saw the car before... I have no idea," he said.

The man inside the  car was rushed to a local hospital with burns.  Investigators have not released his name or said why he was there.  The cause of the fire remains under investigation as well.

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