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Managing Vehicle Fires Safely

BY DOUG LEIHBACHERVehicle fires remain an integral part of fire department responses. According to the U.S. Fire Administration’s October 2008 Topical Report, “Highway vehicle fires account for approximately one-sixth of all fire responses annually.” Considered a “routine” response by many firefighters, these fires account for the following: approximately 400 civilian deaths annually; 1,700 civilian and 1,100 firefighter injuries; and $1.3 billion in property damage each year.Although there has been a downward trend in the number of vehicle fires over the past decade—from 381,000 in 1998 to 258,000 in 2007—the hazards associated with these incidents...

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