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Tailgaters' Coals Send Vikings Fans' Rental Car Up In Flames

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A Minnesota couple is home after a nightmare trip to see the Vikings play the Jets.

While the Vikings won, the Smith family lost hundreds of dollars.

Tim and Gina Smith are fresh off of vacation and back in their Montrose home. Gina Smith says, "For a short trip, it felt really long."

But it started out smooth.

The couple flew to Boston for a long weekend, and decided last minute to day-trip to New Jersey to watch the Viking play.

Tim said, "We were driving down the turnpike and what did I say, 'Honey, this is the most perfect vacation I've ever had.' I said the only thing that will make it more perfect if the Vikings win."

And the Vikings did win, but the couple was soon to endure a loss.

"We really thought with the game over and the win, 'This is all downhill from here,' and it was literally downhill from there," said Tim.

"We're all pumped up and then we go to the parking lot and that's when we're like, 'Oh, let's go to our car and we're kind of looking, where is our car?" added Gina.

Their rental car was unrecognizable.

"There were no officials from the stadium, no police officers, no fire department, just this burnt out car left in the lot and we had no idea what happened," said Gina.

A nearby parking attendant named Bob said coals from a grill started the fire. The Smiths say officers said it wasn't their jurisdiction. Bob drove them to Newark to rent another car.

The couple says their insurance carrier is consulting with MetLife Stadium. They will likely owe a $500 deductible.

"I mean, it's memorable. You can take that as a victory," Gina said.

The Smiths did not buy the extra rental car insurance, but their personal All State Insurance does cover rental cars.


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