An Olympian and world champion ice dancer along with his three kids was startled recently when their car filled with smoke before bursting into flames while on Marine Drive.
Victor Kraatz said that while driving on Marine Drive from West Vancouver at around 3:45 p.m. last Friday, near the Capilano River crossing just before the street turns onto the Lions Gate Bridge on-ramp, smoke started billowing from his car.
"All of a sudden there was smoke coming out of the hood and next thing you know the smoke filled the driver's cabin. I pulled the car over, we all vacated, and just as we were watching it, it turned into an actual fireball," he said.
He added that ICBC would be investigating the cause behind the apparent spontaneous combustion.
Kraatz, who in 2003 with Shae-Lynn Bourne became the first North American to win a world championship in ice dancing, said he was grateful for the speedy response from local emergency crews.
He also gave a shout out to a good citizen who stopped to help Kraatz and his kids as they braved the elements outside while looking upon their burning vehicle from a safe distance.
“He saw that I was there with three kids and he pulled over and gave my kids a sweatshirt and toque because they were so underdressed because we had to vacate the car so quickly, everything was left in the car,” he said.
Kraatz lives in North Vancouver and these days he works as a hockey-focused skating instructor.