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Old charcoal trick to start car not a good idea

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LAC DU FLAMBEAU, Wis. (WSAU) -- An old trick for starting your car in the winter can be dangerous, and a Lac du Flambeau woman found out the hard way.

Vilas County Sheriff Joe Fath says the woman placed lit charcoal underneath her vehicle’s engine to warm the oil pan and engine block. This is a technique that used to be common many years ago before cars were made of more plastic and built lower to the ground.

The woman removed her battery and took it in the house to warm it up. Then at about 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, she placed the hot coals under the 2007 Dodge Grand Caravan minivan. The van caught fire in the mostly-plastic front bumper section.

Police believe there is over $1,000 worth of damage to the van.

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