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Thread: Car Fires

  1. #1
    Forum Member MaryJane69's Avatar
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    Question Car Fires

    If you encountered a situation where a car was on fire and there were people trapped inside how would you deal with it?
    The car is fully involved. Are the people within as good as dead?
    Thanks.
    It's not the destination, but the journey that matters.

    Stay safe


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    MembersZone Subscriber EFD840's Avatar
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    Truly fully involved?

    Any occupant wouldn't be 'good as dead', they would be already dead.

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    Many people have differering opinions about what "fully involved" means.

    Fires confined to the engine compartment can look impressive but pose far less danger to trapped occupants than fire involving the passenger compartments.

    Clearly you need to extinguish the fire as quickly as possible for occupants to have any chance at survival. Once the fire is knocked down, the survivability of the occupants can be further assessed and extricated as necessary.

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    Forum Member MaryJane69's Avatar
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    I'm talking the whole car, which would mean the occupants being toast I guess. So, I've kind of answered my own question. Put the fire out and extract. Thank you.
    It's not the destination, but the journey that matters.

    Stay safe

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    If the car if fully involved, it doesn't matter what you do. Either way the fire will eventually go out (with or without you) and they will be dead. Did this happen to you or someone you know?

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    A department south of ours responded to a "fully" involved a few years back, got into the window, opened the nozzle and blasted the occupant. He screamed. They removed him and I can't recall if he lived. It came in as a report of an abandoned car. He was still very much alive when they got there. I've seen a vid from another website that had a cop dragging a guy out of what I would have called a fully involved car. Again, I do not know if the guy made it, but he was alive and coughing when he came out.
    A coward stands by and watches wrongs committed without saying a word...Any opinions expressed are purely my own and not necessarily reflective of the views of my former departments

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    Quote Originally Posted by CTJAKE View Post
    If the car if fully involved, it doesn't matter what you do. Either way the fire will eventually go out (with or without you) and they will be dead. Did this happen to you or someone you know?
    This statement isn't entirely true.

    It DOES matter what you do.

    And people HAVE lived though this.

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    MembersZone Subscriber dday05's Avatar
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    I remember seeing a video about 8 years ago of a car fire somewhere in Illinois (I think) of a car rolling pretty good and I think they had the fire out and found a person in there. If I remember right the guy lived for awhile... This is off my memory...

    Jake is right, each situation will vary. And peoples opinion on stuff is way different. You get a call for a house fire "fully involved" and you get there and it is a room & contents fire. Each scenario is different and the actions will be dictated by the size up of the first in crews.

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    Forum Member Dave1983's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dday05 View Post
    I remember seeing a video about 8 years ago of a car fire somewhere in Illinois (I think) of a car rolling pretty good and I think they had the fire out and found a person in there. If I remember right the guy lived for awhile... This is off my memory...
    I recall that as well, although I thought it was from the DC area, but it has been years so Im not sure.

    I think they had already started their invest and the guy moved his head or something. Talk about a change of the old boxer-briefs moment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jakesdad View Post
    This statement isn't entirely true.

    It DOES matter what you do.

    And people HAVE lived though this.
    From my experiences in our city, we've had cars fully involved with an occupant (which meant the victim was fully involved) and they were melted to the seats. I'm sure in extreme cases you "might" be able to pull someone out with a pulse, but they will never "live" again. Obviously you should try, but the overwhelming odds are is that they will be already dead. I'm not going to sit back and do nothing, but I'm not going to beat myself up if the person doesn't make it and we did what we are trained to do.

  11. #11
    Forum Member MemphisE34a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dday05 View Post
    I remember seeing a video about 8 years ago of a car fire somewhere in Illinois (I think) of a car rolling pretty good and I think they had the fire out and found a person in there. If I remember right the guy lived for awhile... This is off my memory...

    Jake is right, each situation will vary. And peoples opinion on stuff is way different. You get a call for a house fire "fully involved" and you get there and it is a room & contents fire. Each scenario is different and the actions will be dictated by the size up of the first in crews.
    That actually may have been here. I think American Heat, or one of those type fire training video companies documented a car fire we had on the interstate.

    A crane counter balance weight fell off a travelling truck and lay in the middle of the interstate until "dude" came along and slammed into it. When the first companies arrived on the scene, the car was every bit of "fully" involved, at least in the passenger compartment. After extinguishing the fire, they found that "dude" was still alive as his head bobbed every time he took a breath. For all tractical purposes, there was very little personnel on the scene could do as "dude" was burned beyond recognition, stuck in the driver's seat, but still alive.

    Personnel did the best they could and eventually got "dude" out of the car and transported to the hospital by helicopter where he ended up dying several hours later.

    Many of you are saying that you have to do everything possible to save everyone, and I guess that is really what you are supposed to do, but this was an absolute horrible call. They guy litterally sluffed apart during the extrication process. Thankfully, from what I have been told he didn't appear to feel much of it.

    I will see if our training center has the video available and post it if possible.
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    Kramer - I've seen that video. Definitely applicable for this. If you want a host for it besides something like youtube, give me a PM and I can get you into my FTP.

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    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    I think the definition of "fully involved" is somewhat variable and based mostly on what it looks like at the time. Most of us would refer to a car as fully involved if there is fire in the engine bay and the passenger compartment. It really doesn't have any meaning on how much of the passenger compartment is on fire.

    So if the car is "a lot on fire" and someone says there is a person inside, we're going to hit the passenger compartment first and do what we can. Maybe the occupant will be lucky and the fire won't have reached them yet. Even if the person is dead, the faster they are extinguished, the more physical evidence is left for the coroner.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Forum Member MaryJane69's Avatar
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    I am asking this in a fictional sense. I am a writer. This has never happened to me nor have I witnessed a car fire first hand. Since I know d**k about the subject I thought it a worthy question. I am curious how those type of situations are dealt with in real life, so that I can accurately describe in story. Thank you for your kind responses, it is very helpful.
    It's not the destination, but the journey that matters.

    Stay safe

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