In at least four cases across Atlantic County (NJ), saltwater has corroded wires causing vehicle fires that have spread to homes, reports the Press of Atlantic City.
Brigantine Fire Chief Jim Holl says two house fires started that way in his town, as the storm was still on.
“It usually happens with newer vehicles that have advanced electronics” Holl said. “Most people would think that if a vehicle was submerged, there would be no fire. … But almost everything in (modern cars) is plastic and hydrocarbon-based material, so the fires burn very hot and very quickly.I don’t know how common it is, but we had two in one night.”
Atlantic County Fire Marshal Whitey Swartz said a similar fire spread from a vehicle to a home in the Oaks at Weymouth development in Weymouth Township.
Saltwater “corrodes the (wire) connections … and when you activate the electrical system, it starts sparking and sparking, gets hotter and hotter, and you have a fire,” Swartz said.
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