Authorities won't know what triggered the blaze, but for the young man behind the wheel, it must have been pretty scary.

Shortly before 8am Thursday, a driver headed west on Clearwater in Kennewick noticed that smoke began pouring from under the hood of his car.  He attempted to pull into the parking lot of the Guesthouse International Inn and Suites hotel, less than a quarter mile from Clearwater and Edison.

However, Kennewick police report the driver's engine died as he was pulling into the lot. At that time flames exploded from under the hood and across the windshield, and the driver had no choice but to bail out. The car was sitting with half of it still sticking out into the right hand lane. Witnesses said the flames were shooting into the air 5-6 feet above the roof of the car!

Fire crews quickly responded, but before they could extinguish the blaze, it consumed most of the car, and sent a brief but huge plume of black smoke that was seen from several miles away.

The heat was so intense that the tow truck driver was seen using a shovel to try to scrape and pry a huge 2 foot by 3 foot blob of melted plastic and rubber from the car that was stuck to the gutter and entry to the hotel parking lot.

The driver was not injured.