LAFD Fire Captain Knocked Unconscious Following Blast

Engine 1 of the  Los Angeles Fire Department found a 2000 Chevy Impala fully involved on arrival and attacked with a 1-and-a-half-inch line but had problems containing it.  A Captain on scene was knocked unconscious following a blast after he observed fire in the passenger compartment and attacked the fire with the attack line.  Take a look at the pictures and story at Firehouse.com and read the official LAFD Report about the incident.  A little off topic in terms of extrication, but the story stills involves a vehicle!  Let me know what you think caused it.  Here’s a quote for the report to get your brain thinking:

As the firefighters were establishing the second line, the Captain observed fire in the passenger compartment in the vicinity of the steering column and attacked the fire with the initial fire attack line in order to prevent re-ignition of the fuel. The fire around the steering column displayed unusual burning characteristic of combustible metals (small white hot appearance, similar to a sparkler). The quick application of water to extinguish the fire around the steering column caused a violent reaction/explosion. The violent reaction/explosion forced the Captain backwards.

That makes me lean toward a certain metal that is cast and used to reinforce the instrument panel.  What do you think?

Mike Meadows/Los Angeles Fire Department

Mike Meadows/Los Angeles Fire Department

LAFD Report – Preliminary Summary Report of Serious LAFD Injuries, Illnesses, Accidents and Near-Miss Incidents Los Angeles Fire Department

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4 comments

  1. i have seen a lot of vehical fires that have magnesium in the steering colums and we all no what water dose when applied to it

  2. Dan’s right. It was magnesium in my opinion as well. this fire jumped from a class A & B fire to a class D fire as well. Hope he is going to be all right.

  3. It sounds just like magnesium in my book.

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