"I have to laugh about it because it's better than crying."
A Montreal student had a frightful end to her Halloween weekend after her car erupted into flames on Sunday night while parked on an Hochelaga street that was carpeted with dry leaves.
Mei-Anne Lemieux was hanging out with friends on Del Vecchio Avenue when she learned that her vehicle was on fire, but it was the cause of the blaze that was most startling.
"We could hear sirens and see flashing lights outside but we didn't know what had happened. I was wondering 'My God, what's going on?'" Lemieux said in an Instagram story.
"I could see that the road was blocked off and I was getting stressed about how I was going to be able to leave," she said. That's when her phone rang.
The number was blocked and the 21-year-old said she started to freak out. It turned out to be the Montreal police informing her about the state of her car.
The inside of the burned vehicle. Right: The piles of incinerated leaves under where the car was parked.Courtesy of Mei-Anne Lemieux
Firefighters were still putting out the blaze when Lemieux went outside. Her car was parked between two others with only "a small space between" and the back of the white car in front was entirely burned, she said.
At first, the police told her they thought the cause of the fire was arson, but soon firefighters started asking if she had driven a lot before parking her car.
"Their theory was that something ignited the leaves… maybe an oil or a gas leak, or just the heat from my car," said Lemieux.
It's also possible that a lit cigarette could have started the fire. There were a lot of leaves and many of them were visibly burned, she said.
"Pay attention to the leaves when you're parking, for real," warned Lemieux. She said she has been reading up about how dangerous dry leaves can be when parking a hot vehicle and doesn't want others to make the same mistake.
While the student was able to rescue some items from her car before it was towed away for good, they all smell of smoke and the car itself is a total loss.