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Car Catches on Fire Following Rear-End Collision

A rear-end collision involving three vehicles ended up killing three people in South Florida this week. According to police, a Mercedes-Benz sedan caused the accident when it rear-ended a PT Cruiser, causing the Cruiser to crash into a Ford pickup truck before it burst into flames. A scary scene unfolded following the crash, with one witness stating, “I just heard, ‘Help, help, somebody’s getting burned, somebody’s getting burned.’” Other witnesses attempted to rescue the occupants of the burning vehicle, but were unable to successfully remove them in time. The driver of the Mercedes-Benz was killed on impact, and both of the occupants inside the Cruiser were pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the pickup truck was not injured in the accident.

What to Do if Your Car Catches on Fire

If you find yourself in a situation where your car catches on fire, it is important to stay calm and collected so you can act in a way that will minimize the chances of harm to yourself, people around you, and to your property.

The National Safety Council recommends that you take these six steps in the event you are driving and your car catches on fire:

  1. Signal, and immediately move to the closest safe place to stop, whether that’s a side lane or a median;
  2. Stop the car and turn off the ignition;
  3. Get every person out of the car, and don’t allow anyone to go back to retrieve personal items;
  4. Move far from the burning vehicle to avoid the flames and toxic fumes—at least 100 feet—and also keep bystanders back;
  5. Call 911; and
  6. Alert oncoming traffic if possible. Unless you are a trained professional, it is not recommended that you try to put out the fire yourself. Opening the hood or car doors can increase the air supply and may actually accelerate the fire.

After the accident, take photos of the damage and collect the names and phone numbers of any witnesses. You should also contact your insurance agent, and have the vehicle towed to a repair shop for an inspection to make sure it is safe to operate again.

What You Can Do to Help Prevent Vehicle Fires

Vehicle fires can occur in collisions, or as a result of problems caused by your vehicle’s electrical or fuel system. There are several warnings signs that you can look for that might mean your car is at a greater risk of catching on fire, including fuses that blow repeatedly, spilled oil under the hood left over from an oil change, oil or other fluid leaks under the vehicle, cracked or loose wiring, very loud sounds from the exhaust system, a missing cap from the oil filler, and broken or loose hoses.

If you have been injured or your car was damaged in an accident, contact the personal injury attorneys at  Pike & Lustig, LLP. In West Palm Beach. We can help you fight to recover the damages to which you are legally entitled.

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