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Blazing Engines: How Vehicles Can Catch on Fire

As you climbed into the ambulance, you watched the firemen put out the last of the flames on the smoldering heap that used to be your car. On your way to Fauquier Hospital, the medical technician who was adjusting the oxygen masks on your two little girls asked you what happened. Unfortunately, you didn’t know what to tell him.

You were on your way home from picking your daughters up from Auburn, when out of nowhere your car radio began to spark. By the time you were able to pull over safely, smoke had filled the inside of the car and you saw a few flames flickering around the dashboard. You immediately got out of the vehicle, grabbed your daughters, and ran a few yards away from the car, which is now of fire. At that point, you called 911 and waited for the ambulance to arrive to help your coughing and wheezing little girls.

Thankfully, you were able to get your family to safety, but you have no clue how your car suddenly became a fire trap.

Why Your Car Could be a Ticking Time Bomb

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) estimates that nearly 300,000 vehicles catch fire each year; however, despite the danger, many drivers have no idea how vehicle fires start, nor what to do if smoke, sparks, or flames become visible. Fortunately, you no longer need to be one of those drivers. You can make sure you’re aware and cautious of any signs of potential problems, before your family is put in danger, by knowing these typical causes of car fires:

  • Ignition of flammable liquids. The leading cause of vehicle fires occur when flammable liquids such as gasoline and oil accidentally ignite from a spark, an overheated engine, or a hot exhaust.
  • Fume ignition. Many flammable liquids are known to be volatile, which means they evaporate easily. These fumes and vapors themselves can also be extremely flammable. Even if your gas tank isn’t leaking, the fumes from the tank alone may be enough to create a flame large enough to travel back to the tank and ignite the fuel. Likewise, oil vapors in your engine are specifically designed to ignite with the help of your engine’s spark plugs. If that ignition isn’t controlled or too much vapor is expelled, an explosion could result.
  • Electrical malfunctions. Today’s vehicles include a plethora of electrical gadgets. From radios and power windows, seats, and mirrors, to sun roofs and seat warmers, they all need electricity to work. Unfortunately, when you have electricity, you also have a risk of electrical fires. If a single wire becomes damaged or malfunctions, it could create a spark which start a fire in the wiring or behind the dashboard, or ignite upholstery and other flammable items.

What You Need to Do After a Car Fire

When you see signs of a vehicular fire, the most important thing you need to worry about is your safety. Do not try to identify the problem, and don’t try put the fire out on your own. Instead, turn your engine off and quickly exit the vehicle. Once you’re at a safe distance, you need to call emergency personnel to take care of the fire properly, assess any physical injuries you may have sustained, and remove any further danger. Finally, after the flames have been extinguished and your injuries have been addressed, you need to call an experienced lawyer in order to protect your rights.

We believe that, no matter the cause of the fire, if you or a loved one sustained serious injuries through no fault of your own, you deserve compensation. Fires can cause irreparable physical and psychological damage that may require expensive treatment. However, we can help you get a settlement that will get the treatment you need without the worry of expense. Contact us today for a free consultation and review of your case. Remember, you don’t have to go through this alone: we’re here to fight for you. Call now!

If you’ve witnessed a car fire, you know how they can quickly become horrifying, dangerous, and out of control. What you may not know is that with a simple click of a button, you can help prevent this type of tragedy from happening to your loved ones. Share this page on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus to help raise car fire awareness. Imagine how your accident may have been different if someone would have shared this information with you. No one deserves to be hurt in a fire, so please, share now!

Andrew Thomas
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Andrew Thomas is an experienced civil litigation attorney in Virginia and is AV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell.