Vikings Fan's Car Torched by Tailgater's Grill During Jets Game

A Minnesota fan was on a trip to Boston and decided to take a slight detour to New Jersey to see the Vikings play the Jets. The detour wound up being longer than expected.
October 22, 2018, 4:49pm
Vikings fan's car destroyed in fire at MetLife Stadium.
Photo courtesy of Gina Smith

There are certain things you can expect when attending a Jets game—lots of drinking, lots of cursing, at least one shirtless dude who should definitely be wearing one—and then there are certain things you can't expect, like your rental car catching fire and getting completely destroyed. So begins the story of Gina Smith, a Minnesota Vikings fan who had a ride when she got to the game, and scrap metal by the time it was over.


There were two separate fires at MetLife Stadium yesterday, both caused by hot coals from tailgating grills, and Smith's car was one of seven caught in the flames.

Smith told the Star Tribune she did not think there was any malice involved, she just thinks someone was incredibly stupid and did not put out their coals before heading into the stadium. Smith did not have a lot of information on how it all happened, but she did find a grill on top of what was left of the car, so…that checks out.

It was a very windy day in the region yesterday, and the MetLife parking lot is a windy place on even the calmest days, so there's a good chance that a grill was blown near the cars and the hot embers went to work.

"I would like to think that it was just people being stupid and careless," Smith said. "Being so windy out, I think it was extremely careless to just leave hot coals out there like that. Definitely not the way I wanted to celebrate a Vikings win."

Smith, a Minnesota sports fan visiting Boston, decided to shoot down to the Meadowlands since the Vikings were playing the Jets while she was on the East Coast and drove down in a rental car for a nice little day trip. But the trip wound up being longer than expected, with the added bonus of a financial hit as well since she did not get the extra insurance on the rental.

So on top of a burned ride home—a parking lot attendant eventually gave her a ride to Newark Airport so she could get a new rental, at least—she has to fight it out with MetLife Stadium to see who's going to cover the cost of the deductible for her own insurance.

No matter what your rooting interests, you would not, under any circumstances, like any of that.