*Car Fires*
By: TennFSAR
6 June 2007

As a volunteer Firefighter, Iíve been to more than a few car fires. Some have resulted from accidents, some from "creative" wiring, some from fuel leaks, and some happen because...well...we never find out why. On the 12th of this month, my family was the victim of the "never know why" kind.

My daughter's car was a 1993 Plymouth Sundance. She recently turned 16 and this was her pride and joy. The car was bought from a relative in another state and was in as good a shape as any 14 year old car out there. Iím an excellent mechanic with 30 years or so of auto repairs under my belt.

Long story made short, they smelled the unmistakable smell of electrical wires burning, quickly got everyone out and away, and called the fire department. They were at a friends house who happens to live way out in the county, so it took the pumper truck about 25 minutes to get there. A good response time for an all-volunteer squad like ours (we're short-handed), but far too long for a car fire. If you donít get there in just a few minutes for one, itís really too late. No one was hurt, but the car was a total loss, as expected. I was at the other end of the countyÖwhen I got there, the picture on the right was awaiting me.

Lessons learned:

1. Have a plan for such an emergency, and practice it with your family!

2. Even with proper care, it happens sometime. We still have no clue as to "why".

3. Car fires are FAST and TOXIC...get out quick...stay out and upwind!

4. Keep an ABC fire extinguisher in your car. Always. Forever. We did. This time it wasnít enough. Next time it might be.

Be safe!

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