Firefighter explains hidden dangers of vehicle fires

Firefighter explains hidden dangers of vehicle fires

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A car fire on I-12 near Essen Lane was caught on camera Sunday night and luckily, no one was hurt, but it turns out, car fires like this one are some of the more dangerous ones out there.

The Baton Rouge Fire Department said its firefighters will respond to a vehicle fire almost daily. However, vehicle fires are far from routine.

"None of the fires we make are typical; every fire we make is different," said BRFD instructional officer Britt Hines. "We try not to be complacent about any fire we make, car fires especially."

With so many parts, a fire can turn a vehicle into a mass of booby traps for first responders. YouTube is filled with videos showing just how dangerous putting out car fires can be. One video shows a bumper shock exploding, sending the bumper flying and knocking out a firefighter.

"As a firefighter, we try not to enter from the back or the front of the vehicle. We try to enter from the side. We've got a lot of dangerous parts on the vehicle," Hines explained.

You may think the most dangerous part of a vehicle on fire is the gas tank. However, Hines said pressurized struts and shock absorbers found in the front and rear of many vehicles are one of their biggest concerns. With heat, those pressurized parts can explode, sending metal rods and shrapnel flying. Hines said different models can present different hazards.

That's why firefighters try to avoid the back and front of a car while dousing the flames. Hines said it's a precaution drivers should also take if they're ever involved in a car fire.

"We just want to make sure they get away from the vehicle. Make sure they don't approach the vehicle after they leave. Let us come in and do our job and put it out," Hines added.

The Baton Rouge Fire Department said part of its training includes studying car models to stay up to date on any potential hazards.

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