It’s not just homes, businesses and forests that can catch fire. Remember around the New Year of 2011/2012, when that lunatic was running around Los Angeles setting cars on fire? Not only did this man destroy several cars, those cars were in carports or parking structures that then caught on fire—and that causes a big problem for a lot of people.
That said, it doesn’t take a maniac arsonist to start a car fire. An automobile can catch fire just fine on its own, and for many reasons. The National Fire Protection Association says that mechanical or electrical issues are the most common causes, but a fire can also be the result of a bad crash.
But if you’re thinking back to the days when you used to watch CHiPs, where a car seemed to explode on the 405 every episode (was it just us that thought that was weird? It made Southern California seem like Mad Max! Wait, now that we think about it…), most crashes DO NOT result in a fire. In the event of any crash, call 9-1-1 and wait for emergency assistance. If there’s no sign of fire, you should still wait for the emergency services to help any injured individuals.
So, if you’re driving your car or have had a bad crash and see smoke or flames, or smell burning rubber or plastic, you need to act.
If you’re driving, pull over as quickly as it is safe to do so, and make sure you use your signal as you move to a safe location on the side of the road, like a breakdown lane or, ideally, a rest stop.
Once you’ve stopped, TURN OFF the engine and get EVERYONE out of the car. And, like a house or building, NEVER return to the burning car for any non-living item. Move everyone at least 100 feet from the burning car and well away from traffic. When this is all done, you should call 9-1-1.
Here’s some NFPA tips on how to prevent a car fire:
- Find a professionally trained mechanic and have your car serviced regularly. If you notice spots on your driveway, leaks or your car sounds funny while driving, get it checked. A well-maintained car is less likely to catch fire.
- Don’t carry a can of gasoline with you in your car, just an empty container. If you must transport gasoline, transport just a small amount in a certified gas can that is properly sealed. Keep a window open for ventilation—the gas fumes could make you dizzy and cause a crash.
- Gas cans and propane cylinders should never be transported in the passenger compartment.
- Never park a car where flammables, such as grass, are touching the catalytic converter.
- Drive safely to avoid an accident.
Remember, most car fluids are flammable. Heat and electrical sparks added to that leaking fluid are all it takes to start a car fire!
We won’t be able to restore your car, but if a car fire damages your home or business, we certainly can come to your rescue. Call us right after you call the fire department and other emergency services so we can survey the damage, give you an estimate and start restoring your property back to its original condition: (877) 732-8471