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Rats blamed for New York car fire that drew Tony Hawk's attention

By Ben Hooper

A post shared by Alec Steinfeld (@thakidaztec) on

May 3 (UPI) -- A New York man whose car abruptly caught fire said he popped open the hood and discovered the cause -- rats in his engine.

Alec Steinfeld said his Volkswagen had been parked for about a week on his Brooklyn block when he tried to drive it to work Friday.

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"When I started driving initially I smelled roadkill," Steinfeld told WPIX-TV.

Steinfeld said he made it to Manhattan before there was smoke under the hood.

"It seemed like my engine was overheating and then all of a sudden it started catching fire," he said. "I tried to open up my hood and there were two baby dead rats on the ledge so there was a lot of confusion."

He called 911 and firefighters soon arrived on the scene.

"By the time the fire department came they actually had to smash open my windshield," he said.

Steinfeld said the incident soon became clear.

"After the fire was put out, a charred mom/dad rat camped out in the rims of my tire. Obviously, the culprit," he wrote on Facebook.

A video Steinfeld captured of the fire and posted to the social media site shows the car on fire, but also pans away to perhaps an even more interesting sight: pro skateboarder Tony Hawk filming the scene with his own phone.

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"My car caught on fire today," Steinfeld wrote. "Luckily, Tony Hawk was there to capture the whole thing."

Steinfeld's car might be a total loss, but at least he gained one thing from the experience: A selfie with Hawk.

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