We don’t get very many car fires here on Hornby. In fact there hasn’t been one since I joined the department. Despite their infrequent occurance, extinguishing them safely is a skill that we like to keep up on. To that end we have constructed a prop which is a stripped minivan that we can pack full of wooden pallets and set on fire.
Newer cars present many challenges for fire suppression:
- Bumper struts can explode shooting a bumper into a firefighter’s knees.
- Air bags can explode with shrapnel.
- Hatchback struts can explode and shoot a metal rod like a crossbow bolt.
- Newer cars have plastic fuel tanks which can drop off of the car and melt releasing gasoline onto the ground.
Working in teams of three, firefighters approach the vehicle from the side or corner dumping as much cooling water onto the flames and under the car as possible. When they get close they open the nozzle pattern to a fog to protect them from the heat of the fire. Once at the car, the nozzle pattern gets narrowed again to fit through the window and extinguish the fire.