According to Scott Sibiga, who was sitting in the passenger’s seat, the car was making a U-turn when the hood started smoking. They quickly pulled into a metered parking spot on the corner of 69th Street and Clinton Avenue in front of the Maspeth Federal Savings parking lot, jumped out, and called for help. Help arrived within minutes.
Bernard Grandjany, the driver, had wanted to open the hood and check the engine, but Sibiga yelled for him to get out right before flames shot out from under the hood. They said they were told by the firefighters that they put out a lot of fires involving Mercury vehicles.
“Thank God it didn’t get blown up,” said Sibiga. “We could’ve gotten blown up if it hit the fuel line.”
But after the initial feeling of relief passed, the anguish began. Grandjany, who owns the car but lends it to Sibiga for work, said he canceled the “fire and death”’ coverage from GEICO about a year ago because it was getting too expensive.
In addition to damage caused to the engine, the windshield was smashed in by firefighters. The front seats were littered with charred debris.
“I don’t believe this!” said Sibiga, who makes deliveries for a living. “This is my livelihood. Now I’m screwed.”
Grandjany remained quiet and much calmer than his friend as they waited for a tow.
“Hey, what can you do?” said Grandjany. “I’m just relieved that there were no injuries.”