IMPORTANT NOTE & UPDATE: I failed to compare the earlier version of this to the original and didn’t realize it was not the complete video. The one above is now complete and includes the strut explosions at about 2:30 and 2:50 in the video. They are highlighted. My apologies.
Engine 2 responded to a vehicle fire at W. 25th Street and Guadalupe. An APD officer was first on scene and recorded this dashcam video. The rear hatch on the vehicle is initially in the open position because the occupants unloaded contents from the vehicle. The heavy fire caused the struts to fail and the rear hatch to fall back to the closed position. The fire then caused the rear window to break and fall out of the vehicle. Shortly after AFD arrival, the two rear hatch struts violently explode and shoot from the vehicle. Both struts shot a distance of approximately 40 feet and with enough force to injure the firefighters. Fortunately, the firefighters from Engine 2 were not located in the path of the exploding struts.
LESSONS LEARNED: The lessons learned from the incident include-
We will often be arriving at a vehicle fire just as struts have had enough fire exposure to explode and shoot from the vehicle.
Position the apparatus at least 75 feet from the burning vehicle.
Wear full PPE as protection.
Extinguish as much fire as possible from as far away as possible then approach the vehicle cautiously. While there isn’t a completely safe angle, there are safer angles to approach from. The 45 degree angle is recommended because airbags and bumper struts have traditionally had a front/rear deployment path when they explode.
Set up exclusion zone of approximately 100 feet and remove all bystanders.
Cool struts with water if they are still intact after the fire is extinguished.
Also on STATter911 …
- Arrival video: Vehicle fire in driveway. Body found. – May 29, 2013
- Must see pre-arrival video: Multiple explosions on roof of apartment building. – April 7, 2013
- Helmet-cam video: House fire in East St. Louis, IL. – October 31, 2013
- UPDATED: Suspicious fire in Prince George’s County, MD leaves two dead. One jumped to death. Other dead in apartment. – January 13, 2013
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