Winds from Wednesday night’s thunderstorms sent embers from a fire pit into a parked car in South Brunswick setting it on fire.

Deputy Police Chief James Ryan said a resident had put out the flames in the fire pit at his house on Major Road. Thinking the fire was completely extinguished, he walked to the other side of his property when the winds picked up an ember and dropped it on the car, engulfing it in flames.

No one else was injured or property damaged in the fire.

This is the latest accident involving a backyard fire.

A 56-year-old Hillside man who used gasoline in his fire pit died after suffering burns to his entire body on May 10. The fire suddenly roared and burned him over most of his body. Neighbors tried to help the man before first responders arrived.

Some tips from the New Jersey Chapter of the National Fire Sprinkler Association:

  • Check with your local fire department or municipality to make sure fire pits are allowed in your area. Rules can change on a seasonal basis, as dry or windy conditions can affect safety.
  • Do not burn trash, leaves, paper, cardboard, or plywood.
  • Avoid using soft wood such as pine or cedar that likely pop and throw sparks, use seasoned hardwood or what is recommended by manufacturer.
  • Check manufacturer guidelines for properly extinguishing the fire and be sure to have all necessary tools.
  • Before starting the fire, make sure that the lid will still close to extinguish the fire in case of emergency. Do not overload.
  • Before you light the fire, check the wind direction.
  • Fire pits can remain extremely hot into the next day when all embers are burned and the temperature returns to normal.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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