The Berwyn Fire Company was dispatched at 6:47 p.m. to the area of Valley Forge Rd. and Chesterbrook Blvd. in Tredyffrin Township for an automobile fire.
Lieutenant Matthew Valocchi arrived on location and reported a passenger vehicle engine compartment on fire. Chesterbrook Blvd. was shut down in both directions between Valley Forge Rd. and Dickinson Rd. so firefighters could safely extinguish the fire.
As firefighters were working to douse the flames, the gas line ruptured sending fire underneath the vehicle. Thankfully crews were alert and quickly re-positioned to contain the fire and subsequent fuel spill.
There was no reported firefighter or civilian injuries. All Berwyn units were clear of the scene before 7:30 p.m.
In 2003-2007, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 287,000 vehicle fires per year. These fires caused an average of 480 civilian deaths, 1,525 civilian injuries, and $1.3 billion in direct property damage annually. Cars, trucks and other highway vehicles (meaning a vehicle designed for highway use, not that the fire occurred on a highway) accounted for 93% of the vehicle fires and 92% of the vehicle fire deaths.
Data from the U.S. Fire Administration's (USFA's) National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) and the National Fire Protection Association's (NFPA's) annual fire department experience survey are used to provide details about the types of vehicles involved in fire and the circumstances of highway vehicle fires.
Mechanical or electrical failures caused roughly three-quarters of the highway vehicle fires, but only 11% of the deaths. Collisions and overturns were factors contributing to the ignition in only 3% of the fires, but fires resulting from these incidents caused 58% of these vehicle fire deaths. Older teens and young adults are the age groups at highest risk of highway vehicle fire death and injuries. One-third (35%) of non-fatal highway vehicle fires injuries occurred when civilians attempted to fight the fire themselves.