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[whitespace] Car Alarm Blaze

Monte Sereno--Someone ought to let Land Rover's engineers in on the secret: It's internal combustion, not spontaneous combustion. Then again, it could be other factors that caused a Range Rover to burst into flames after Monte Sereno resident Averill Mix parked it in his garage on the morning of November 3 and went inside to bake a cake. It wasn't until a construction worker came banging on the front door that Mix even knew anything was amiss, and by then the blaze was well on its way to consuming the garage.

It stopped there, luckily, sparing Mix's three-story house as well as the only other resident home at the time--his golden retriever Bo. Neighbors called the fire department shortly after 11 a.m., and the firefighters had the fire contained within 20 minutes of their arrival.

Mix told the Los Gatos Weekly Times that when he last drove his smoldering steed, it "smelled a little funny, kind of like burning oil." Mix's insurance company is now conducting an investigation into the fire. He says it could take months.

Neighbors are saying the fire points out the hillside area's inadequate water supply. Water pressure is weak generally, and about a dozen houses are out of hydrant range, according to one neighbor. Partly because of weak water pressure in the hillside neighborhood, District Chief Frank Arnerich upgraded the call to two alarms. Arnerich says that if conditions had been drier, he would not have hesitated to call in the California Department of Forestry.
Traci Hukill

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