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Why Do Car Accidents Cause Fires?

Why Do Car Accidents Cause Fires?Cars are made up of various materials, and while many parts are designed to resist heat and flames, some components can indeed be flammable. The parts can be damaged or overheat in a crash, leading to a fire.

Flammable parts of the car include:

  • Fuel system: The most obvious flammable component is the fuel system. Gasoline is highly combustible, and a rupture in the fuel tank or fuel lines during an accident can lead to a dangerous situation.
  • Engine fluids: Other fluids in the engine, such as oil and transmission fluid, can also catch fire under. Leaks during a collision may contribute to the flammability of the vehicle.
  • Battery: Car batteries contain acid, and in certain situations, a damaged battery can spark and ignite nearby materials.
  • Wiring and electrical components: The wiring throughout the car can pose a fire risk if it is damaged. Electrical sparks from a short circuit or damaged wiring can lead to a fire.
  • Interior materials: The interior of a car contains materials like upholstery, carpeting, and/or plastics that can burn if exposed to flames.
  • Brake system: Brake fluid is flammable, and damage to the brake system during an accident may contribute to the risk of fire.

Due to the many flammable and sometimes explosive parts of the car, it is of critical importance that if you are in a car accident, and you see any smoke or flames, that you get as far away from the vehicle as possible, and call emergency services.

Car fires in Phoenix

In recent months, Phoenix has seen its fair share of car accidents, with several leading to fires. In October of last year, five people were critically injured after a car accident that led to a fire. Then, later in December, there was a collision involving a police vehicle and another car, where one person lost their life. The crash occurred around 9 a.m. at the intersection of 35th Avenue and Thunderbird Road, leading to the second vehicle catching fire. The driver of the car, identified as 19-year-old Ashley Vailes, was pronounced dead at the scene. The police officer driving the marked SUV and the assault suspect being transported sustained minor injuries and were taken to the hospital. The police cruiser, reportedly without its lights on, collided with the other vehicle as it turned left at the intersection.

Most recently, just this month, near 27th Street and Greenway Road, a man lost his life, and another was injured during a car crash. The incident occurred just after 5 a.m., with the car catching fire, and was fortunately extinguished before it could spread to nearby buildings. The deceased, identified as 20-year-old Christian Draganov, was found inside the car after the flames were put out. Another passenger was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Police indicated that the driver likely lost control while approaching a curve at 27th Street, leading to the car striking multiple parked vehicles.

Car fires are nothing to be underestimated. According to Statista, “in 2021, there were 174,000 highway vehicle fires reported in the United States which caused 650 civilian deaths. This was an increase from the previous year, when 580 civilians died from highway vehicle fires.” While fires do not occur in all car accidents, when they do occur, they can cause catastrophic injuries.

Life-changing injuries caused by car fires

Experiencing a fire-related injury in a car accident can lead to significant, long-lasting changes in a person’s life. The physical impact is often severe, with serious burns causing both immediate pain and enduring scars that can affect how a person looks and moves. In addition to visible injuries, inhaling toxic fumes during a car fire can lead to lasting respiratory problems, impacting overall health.

Beyond the physical effects, there’s a considerable emotional toll. Survivors of car accidents involving fires may grapple with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and emotional trauma, affecting their mental well-being for an extended period. The road to recovery involves not just physical rehabilitation, but also addressing mental and emotional challenges. Life-changing injuries from a car fire go beyond the initial incident, influencing many aspects of a person’s life and requiring ongoing medical and emotional support to navigate the difficulties and work toward healing and adaptation.

At Plattner Verderame, PC, our team of experienced Phoenix car accident attorneys understand the life-changing damage a car fire can do. Catastrophic burns can lead to serious, life-altering injuries and complications, significantly deteriorating your quality of life. If you were severely injured in a car accident that resulted in a fire, and you believe that the accident was caused by someone else’s negligence or recklessness, then you need one of our experienced car accident attorneys. By gathering evidence and communicating with insurance companies, we can help to prove the other party’s liability, and ensure that you receive the just compensation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your options, call us at our Phoenix or Tempe offices, or use our contact page.