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Thread: Vehicle Fires

  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber firefighterMV's Avatar
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    Default Vehicle Fires

    So I know that there are a few threads about car fires, but I haven't found the information I am looking for. We have been having some healthy discussion on approach type and distance for staging apparatus from the vehicle. We have 100' pre-loaded bumper loads that many feel are sufficient for a fully involved vehicle fire, but my argument is that you are having to park too close and don't have enough extra hose. Our other option is park farther and use one of our standard 200' pre-connects. I would like to know what others' "policies" or standard response guidelines are for car fires. How far do you park away from the vehicle? CAFS or not (for those that have it)? Length of hose for attack and if you have a designated line for these attacks?

    Simple subject, but just trying to see what others' are doing. I feel that the 100' pre-connect puts the apparatus too close to the fire and not enough hose to work comfortably around the vehicle.
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  2. #2
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    We use our 100' bumper line all the time for car fires. We have just a flat loaded tray. In the tray we also keep a stacked dounut roll 50'. for short streatches not just for car fire but for anything. I have found that 100' is plenty for a car fire.
    Tactics wise we use the striaght stream hit the passenger compactment if it is involved. The advance forward hit the tires. Then stick the nozzle up in the front wheel well and open the fog up alittle bit causes the engine compartment to steam. that usually knocks most of the fire out. The the hydrant man uses the combi-tool to pop the hood. Quicker and easier then using the irons. The nozzle man then sprays to cool the enigne compartment the hydrant man opens the truck, glove box, checks under the hood.

    shut down line and pack the hose. back in bed in alittle over 45 mins (that includes going to the bathroom.)

    We use an 100ft 13/4, plain water no foam, put it out and leave.

  3. #3
    Forum Member Ambrose33's Avatar
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    All of our engines have 100 foot preconnects on the front bumpers on our trucks for car fire and other small fires. Whats your concern with having an engine within 100 feet of a car fire? 100 feet is a good distance! Cars don't really explode, they do engulf quickly once the gas tank becomes involved. I've been fighting car fires for almost a decade and the only thing I ever had an issue with is fuel leaks and magnesium. Yes the real old cars with the gas shocks bumpers that were know to blow and be found over 100 feet away(thats rare now-a-days) but thats why even to this day you fight a car fire from a defensive position.

    During your arrival with your apparatus you will have to size the scene up. You don't want to fight the car fire on a hill that may cause the gas to leak underneath your truck or any position that could interupt the fire attack and possibly endanger your crew. Some car fires we've arrived parked the truck in a different position and had to stretch one of our longer preconnects off the side of the truck due to our positioning.
    Stay safe!

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    Forum Member PaladinKnight's Avatar
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    100' to 150' should be ok. The worse case risk is if the vehicle is used as a bomb or rolling meth lab. You should be able to access the thing before you attack. They usually will not explode unless the tank ruptures abruptly and ignites. Be aware of alternative fuels; propane, natural gas. The things you see on TV is Hollywood.
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    I assume nothing says you have to use the bumper line? So if your approach forces you to pass the involved vehicle to be uphill of burning leaking fuel you can pull a longer line in case the 100 ft. line is now too far away? I can't imagine why under normal circumstances 100 ft. would not be adequate, unless you intended to park 200 feet away and spray water the last 100 ft. Most everyone gets far closer than 100 ft. from the vehicle before attacking the fire. But having another option is always a good idea, for those odd circumstance calls.

  6. #6
    Forum Member Weruj1's Avatar
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    we have 100' with another 50' dead layed in the bumper, we also just went to a good car fire and you can see the video on www.rossfordfire.com This is pretty standard for us.
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    Forum Member len1582's Avatar
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    Our bumper lines are 50ft of 1 3/4" and 10ft garden hose for trash only. Anything else is pulled from our 1 3/4" straight bed. We also get stolen cars dumped 200-300 feet from the road by rail road tracks. No foam, just water. We send an engine and ladder company to car fires. On a busy street the truck blocks traffic so the engine doesn't get hit by some idiot driving by. If it's not much the engine officer will return the truck enroute.

    MV..do you have a straight 1 3/4" bed or just 200' pre-connects?

  8. #8
    Forum Member FiremanLyman's Avatar
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    What is the OP's original concern? Exploding bumper or hood struts maybe? They have shown cases where those things have flown hundreds of feet. Unless you are pumping from 1/4 mile away, those I suppose could be a danger, though not enough to change your tactics. 100' to 150' off a bumper line should suffice.

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    Forum Member CGITCH's Avatar
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    It all depends on the situation and how the vehicle is situated in relation to where you can park your engine. You know a parking lot you may want to use the preconnect just so you don't have to manuever so closely. Heck most of our guys are too lazy even to pull a hose other than the booster.

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    We run a 100ft. preconnected 1.75 with an additional 50 ft. that can br connected top it. Works pretty well.

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    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    Front jumpline is 100'. 1 of our crosslays (foam ready) is 150' We have used both. We try to approach the vehicles from it's corners, out of any direct path.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
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    On both my volly and career FD's we use a 200 foot preconnect. Career FD it is a 1 3/4 inch line with a 125 gpm at 100 psi nozzle, Volly FD uses 2 inch hose with a 200 gpm at 75 psi nozzle (it would be underpumped to flow 160 gpm).

    Tactics approach at a 45 degree angle to the engine compartment. The attack starts from 20 or 30 feet away knocking down as much fire a spossibe before moving up. We sweep the bumper and wheel well area as we advance for fire control and to cool the bumper struts and suspension. Further extinguishment efforts may go through the wheel well or front of car "grill" opening. We attempt to pull the hood latch to open the hood. If that doesn't work we use the K12 saw to cut a v out of the hood around the latch. The hood is opened, propped and final extinguishment is accomplished.

    Often, Class A foam is used.
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    Like it or not, we use the booster line for cars. We tend to park less than 50' away. This is not bragging, pot stirring, or statement that ours is the only way to do it, it is just an answer to the question.

    One big key has already been stated...park uphill upwind where possible. The other big factor is trying to position truck to provide the safest working environment.

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    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    Lets think about this. Whether you park the big red truck 100ft away or 250ft away or use 5" to feed a line from around the block, you still need to walk right up to the car with the nozzle and spray water at it to put the fire out. So how far away you park is pretty irrelevant as far dangers from the vehicle involved.

    Things to legitimately think about when position an engine at a car fire...

    - Uphill from the vehicle
    - Upwind if possible
    - Block traffic completely
    - Pump operator on the protected side if possible
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Forum Member CGITCH's Avatar
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    I must have been taught different. I was taught to approach the vehicle perpendicular to the vehicle.

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    we usually come in at an angle from the front, like 45 degree so nothing will blow out from the side or front.

    we would pull the 100' 2" off the side tray or 200' 1-3/4" off the bumper

  17. #17
    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CGITCH View Post
    I must have been taught different. I was taught to approach the vehicle perpendicular to the vehicle.
    And you were taught absolutely correct.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    But now that some hoods and trunks are being held up by struts and the struts can run perpendicular at times, that attack method has been updated.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    Not sure what the solution to that is other than air dropping. There are some things that I just don't think there is anything we can do anything about that is practical. Other than doing an LA and letting it burn down, we have to approach from somewhere and the sides remain the safest way.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  20. #20
    Forum Member CGITCH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    But now that some hoods and trunks are being held up by struts and the struts can run perpendicular at times, that attack method has been updated.
    So you are saying that the 45* angle is the correct attack? It was taught to me that if one of those bumper shocks goes and the other doesn't you are right in the path of that thing. I haven't seen hood or trunk struts that run perpendicular, although you are probably correct. But if they do run perpendicular they are located towards the ends of the vehicle and I learned to approach from the middle, seems more or less out of the "line of fire" of these possible projectiles.

    Truth is, if it was completely safe anybody could do it.

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