475 Car Fires in Tampa Bay in Two Years – What Is Causing Them? | Tampa Injury Lawyers Whittel & Melton


If you have ever been stuck sitting in Tampa Bay traffic, sometimes these interruptions are caused by car fires.  While that may sound unbelievable, officials have confirmed that FHP Troop C, which covers Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, Citrus, Hernando, and Sumter counties, responded to 475 car fires with the past two years.  When a single car catches fire, an entire highway or bridge may be forced to shutdown as first responders work to put out the blaze.

You may be wondering how a car fire starts, and there are several reasons.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) lists smoking, overheated engines, leaks, and electrical problems as common causes of fires.

Another concern is whether the rise in electric vehicles on the road is contributing to the number of fires.

Currently, no national organization in the United States is monitoring the kinds of automobiles that are catching fire.  Official statistics regarding the distinction between gas and electric fires are nonexistent.

According to MotorTrend, the country of Sweden does.  Their data indicates that gas-powered engines have a higher fire risk than those of electric and hybrid cars.

https://www.tampabayinjuryattorneyblog.com/files/2023/11/Untitled-design-2023-11-13T142510.732-200x300.pngSince most cars function on burning gasoline, there is always a risk of fire. Electric cars have big batteries that are packed with combustible materials even though they are not fueled by gas. A car fire can easily be started by a crash or intense heat. If you have been harmed in a car fire, we can help.

The Main Culprits of Car Fires Explained

  1. Your Car’s Engine Overheats

The engine of your car may overheat, causing coolants or oils to turn dangerously hot.  They may ignite if they get into your car’s engine or exhaust system, placing drivers and passengers in grave danger.  Interestingly, statistics from the US Fire Administration show that the engine, running gear, or wheel area of the car are the source of 62% of highway vehicle fires and 36% of highway vehicle fatalities.

  1. Design Defects in Fuel Tank

Defects in the design and positioning of fuel tanks may result in a rupture and subsequent leakage during or after an accident.  A tiny spark may ignite this leak and turn it into a raging blaze.  The best place for a fuel tank is generally agreed to be between the axles of the car, yet some vehicles have their fuel tanks positioned behind the rear axle, which leaves them open to rear collisions.  There are other equally unsafe places. Fuel tanks that are positioned “sidesaddle” on some pickup trucks are outside the frame, making them very susceptible to side-impact collisions.

  1. Electrical/Mechanical Fires

Electrical and mechanical malfunctions account for two thirds of automobile fires, according to the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA). This can involve problems with heating systems, car batteries, heated seats, or even aftermarket items that are poorly made. According to statistics from the US Fire Administration, 29% of highway car fires are caused by inadequate insulation surrounding wiring. A single frayed, errant wire has the potential to start a catastrophic fire.

  1. Faulty Fuel Lines

Defects in a car’s fuel lines/pump can also result in post-collision flames.  When fuel is pumped through vehicle systems at high pressure, a fuel line can easily rupture resulting in a significant leak.  Inadequate placement, routing, or use of the incorrect materials can cause lines to burst.

Electric fuel pumps are commonly found in most cars with fuel-injected engines.  A fuel pump can continue to circulate gasoline via the fuel lines and fuel system if it does not switch off properly after a collision, increasing the risk of a fire.

Tamp Bay Car Fires – Our Legal Team Can Help with Your Injury Claim 

Our Tampa Bay Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can assist you in pursuing financial compensation from the careless automaker or negligent auto parts manufacturer responsible for the malfunction that led to a car fire, resulting in your injuries.  Call us now at 813-221-3200 or contact us online for a free consultation.

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