The owner of a 2013 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon could only film with his cellphone as his vehicle burned itself to the ground.
Casey Kaiser, an outdoorsman who documents his travels to almost 30,000 followers via his YouTube channel Coyote Works, took his Jeep 30 miles from the nearest road in the Oregon wilderness as part of an expedition to enjoy camping far from other people and explore historic sites. Upon stopping to open a gate, smoke began to billow from under the Jeep's hood, and where there's smoke, there's fire—lots of it, in Kaiser's case.
"An hour or so before dark, I finally came into a valley that had a lot of level ground, and was looking to find a place to camp for the next," explained Kaiser in the video documenting his troubles. "About halfway across the valley, I came across an old range fence gate, so like always, I turned the Jeep off, dropped the keys in my pocket, and got out to open up the gate."
"As I was getting out of the Jeep, I noticed smoke starting to come out from underneath the hood, so I immediately opened the hood to see what was going on," continued Kaiser. "Now, up until that moment, there was no indication that there was anything wrong with my Jeep. No warning lights on, the temperature gauge was reading normal, and it was driving just fine, which leads me to believe that the fire had just started."
The flames grew with the fresh oxygen offered with the hood open, and despite using both a fire extinguisher and multiple gallons of water to fight the fire, the Jeep burned to a crisp.
By fan request, Kaiser set up a GoFundMe for replacement of his Wrangler, which has raised $4,735 in the weeks since the incident.
Kaiser's Jeep catching fire is not known to be related to any recent recalls by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the owner of Jeep and manufacturer of its products. Jeep fans needn't necessarily panic about whether this could happen to them; we speculate that because video leading up to the incident depicted Kaiser traveling through an area with heavy brush where some may have been caught in the car's frame, along its exhaust, or in engine pulley, exposing it to extreme heat. With the vehicle turned off, the radiator fan that may have blown enough air through the engine bay to prevent a fire would have turned off, potentially allowing the brush to catch fire.