A man who was living in his car was injured and his dog killed during a vehicle fire early this morning in the parking lot of Fred Meyer.
Capt. Dave Boddy of Capital City Fire and Rescue said that about 3:45 a.m. a man, 61, whose name is not being released, was trying to keep himself warm with a small propane torch when it lit the dashboard and passenger seat on fire.
He was injured escaping the car and was taken to Bartlett Regional Hospital. The hospital won't release any details of his condition because he is in a confidential status, said Communications Manager Marijo Toner.
Boddy said one engine and one ambulance from the Glacier District responded. When they arrived at the scene, Boddy said, the man was sitting about 30 feet from the burning vehicle. He had managed to get out of the car but fell as he fled, fracturing his arm, Boddy said. The car, a Ford Escort, was totaled.
The man was living in the car with his dog at the time of the fire. Boddy said. He said the man's dog was killed and his possessions lost in the blaze.
Joan Decker, executive director for the Glory Hole, a downtown homeless shelter, said some homeless people choose to live in their vehicles to continue drinking or to share sleeping arrangements with a significant other, which are not allowed at the Glory Hole. A man, a wife and their two children recently chose to live in their car because they didn't want to be separated at a shelter, she said.
She said it may have been the dog that kept the man out of the shelter last night. The shelter doesn't accept dogs but encourages people to temporarily lodge their dogs and cats at the Humane Society.
"It is very unfortunate," she said. "He would not have been able to stay with the dog, but the Humane Society will take them in, even if they don't have the money as long as the owners go over and walk them once a day. But the dog may have been the reason they were in his car."
Melanie Plenda may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.