First responders share tips to avoid car fires

What to check before you hit the road

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Firefighters share some tips on helping prevent car fires, which could spark from the components right under your car’s hood.

Local fire departments were on their toes this week fighting car fires: one fire broke out on Chippenham Parkway on Wednesday, another burned on Thursday night in Carytown, while a third blaze erupted in Henrico on Friday.

The weekend right before Christmas bring millions of drivers to the roadways – about 102 million this year, according to AAA.

Chesterfield Fire Department Lieutenant Jason Elmore says that higher volume of cars increases the potential for accidents and incidents on the road, including car fires.

“There are lots of different things that can cause a fire," he said. "There’s lots of different components underneath the hood – the engine obviously runs hot at times, so you know so a lot of those things can either short or fail, causing a spark.”

To help insure that your car doesn’t end up in flames, Lt. Elmore suggests looking out for the signs that your car may be potentially hazardous, such as sluggish performance or odd noises.

For drivers who already find themselves already in those scary situations, first responders suggest keeping your distance from the flames.

“If you notice smoke coming from under the hood or you smell something, pull the vehicle over to the side of the road immediately, get out of the vehicle, move away from the vehicle and then contact 911 to get out response to the scene," he said.

Finally, Lt. Elmore suggests to be aware of dried leaves and other foliage that may get stuck under your hood as those may also serve as kindling to any sparks, resulting in a fire.

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