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Fourteen cars ablaze in 39 days: Orange firefighters kept busy in new year

February 12, 2022

A car ablaze in Orange. Copyright: Troy Pearson / TNV

By Peter Holmes

Firefighters in Orange were called to 14 car fires in the first 39 days of 2022, at an average of one fire every 2.7 days.

Records released this week by NSW Fire & Rescue in Orange show the first call-out of the year was on January 4.

Fire & Rescue on the spot. Copyright: Troy Pearson / TNV

Firefighters were forced to attend to three blazes in just over 90 minutes in the early hours of the morning.

There were nine car fires from January 4 to January 18, then a break from January 19 to 30.

Fire ball. Copyright: Troy Pearson / TNV

From January 31 to February 8 there were five car fires.

Acting station officer in Orange Andrew Webb updated The Orange News Examiner on Saturday, saying there had been no further car fires since February 8.

He couldn't comment officially on whether all 14 car fires in Orange this year were the result of arson, as that determination is made by other agencies, but said: "I'd be surprised if any were accidental - most people don't break down in the middle of a park and the car catches on fire".

Almost there. Copyright: Troy Pearson / TNV

The fuel tanks used in Hollywood action movies must be very flimsy, as the vehicles - at the slightest hint of an accident - regularly explode on impact.

It doesn't work that way in real life, says Webb, as fuel tanks don't simply explode.

When cars are set alight it takes firefighters anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes to extinguish the blaze. Mostly they are dealt with in the 10 - 20-minute range.

"I've never seen a car explode like they do in Hollywood car crashes - there needs to be the perfect mix of fuel and air before it catches on fire," Webb said.

"Often people will hear very loud bangs, and mostly that's the tyres exploding under pressure."

Left in a park and set alight. Copyright: Troy Pearson / TNV

He said that when the fire brigade attends a car fire the first areas the firefighters will try to cool are the tyres and alloy rims, which can explode or create sparks.

On a recent job a car was set alight near a creek, making access for firefighters more difficult.

It was estimated by one officer that it took an extra five minutes to get to the fire.

Off-road fires can require specialist tankers that can navigate more challenging terrain.

Firefighters attend a job overnight on Friday into Saturday. Supplied.


From January 1 to February 8 Station 412 Firefighters in Orange attended 97 incidents.

The majority were Automated Fire Alarms (AFA) and Car Fires/Motor Vehicle Accidents (MVA).

All incidents are listed in order:

1/1/22, 1050hrs- MVA 1/1/22, 1231hrs- Car Leaking Fuel 1/1/22, 1529hrs- AFA 1/1/22, 1927hrs- MVA 1/1/22, 2010hrs- AFA 1/1/22, 2139hrs- Yard Fire

2/1/22, 1012hrs- Assist Paramedics 2/1/22, 2320hrs- MVA

3/1/22, 0233hrs- AFA 3/1/22, 2353hrs- Assist Paramedics

4/1/22, 0411hrs- Car Fire 4/1/22, 0525hrs- Car Fire 4/1/22, 0548hrs- Car Fire 4/1/22, 1712hrs- AFA 4/1/22, 2057hrs- Assist Public 4/1/22, 2215hrs- Bin Fire

7/1/22, 1136hrs- Assist Paramedics 7/1/22, 1755hrs- AFA 7/1/22, 1848hrs- AFA

8/1/22, 0335hrs- Car Fire 8/1/22, 0808hrs- Spillage 8/1/22, 1037hrs- Unit Fire

9/1/22, 0926hrs- AFA 9/1/22, 1301hrs- Yard Fire 9/1/22, 1455hrs- AFA 9/1/22, 1746hrs- Yard Fire

10/1/22, 0759hrs- AFA 10/1/22, 1225hrs- AFA 10/1/22, 1801hrs- Spillage

11/1/22, 0542hrs- AFA 11/1/22, 1727hrs- Spillage

12/1/22, 1428hrs- Spillage

13/1/22, 0511hrs- AFA 13/1/22, 0711hrs- Car Fire 13/1/22, 0949hrs- Grass Fire 13/1/22, 1414hrs- AFA

15/1/22, 0357hrs- Car Fire 15/1/22, 0434hrs- AFA 15/1/22, 0523hrs- MVA 15/1/22, 0631hrs- Car Fire 15/1/22, 1926hrs- AFA 15/1/22, 2246hrs- Bonfire

16/1/22, 0552hrs- Flooding 16/1/22, 1749hrs- Building Fire

17/1/22, 1656hrs- AFA 17/1/22, 2123hrs- Assist Paramedics

18/1/22, 0231hrs Medical Access Emergency 18/1/22, 0457hrs- Car Fire 18/1/22, 0558hrs- Car Fire 18/1/22, 0824hrs- AFA 18/1/22, 0852hrs- Electrical Fire

19/1/22, 1222hrs- MVA 19/1/22, 1352hrs- House Fire

20/1/22, 1131hrs- MVA

21/1/22, 0952hrs- AFA

22/1/22, 1021hrs- MVA 22/1/22, 2000hrs- Assist Paramedics

24/1/22, 0820hrs- AFA 24/1/22, 1123hrs- Spillage

25/1/22, 1258hrs- MVA 25/1/22, 2300hrs- AFA

26/1/22, 0514hrs- AFA 26/1/22, 1205hrs- AFA 26/1/22, 1510hrs- AFA 26/1/22, 1942hrs- AFA

29/1/22, 0010hrs- Assist Public 29/1/22, 0812hrs- AFA 29/1/22, 1350hrs- AFA 29/1/22, 2256hrs- AFA 29/1/22, 2325hrs- AFA

31/1/22, 0408hrs- Car Fire 31/1/22, 1947hrs- Bin Fire

1/2/22, 1629hrs- AFA 1/2/22, 2025hrs- Flooding

2/2/22, 0856hrs- AFA 2/2/22, 1113hrs- Assist Paramedics 2/2/22, 1122hrs- Rescue Incident 2/2/22, 2256hrs- Yard Fire

3/2/22, 0025hrs- Rubbish Fire 3/2/22, 0217hrs- Car Fire 3/2/22, 1259hrs- Grass Fire 3/2/22, 1543hrs- MVA 3/2/22, 2150hrs- AFA 3/2/22, 2200hrs- AFA 3/2/22, 2249hrs- AFA

4/2/22, 0113hrs- AFA 4/2/22, 1650hrs- AFA 4/2/22, 2239hrs- MVA

5/2/22, 2312hrs- Rubbish Fire 5/2/22, 2325hrs- AFA

6/2/22, 0645hrs- Car Fire

7/2/22, 0444hrs- Car Fire 7/2/22, 1115hrs- AFA 7/2/22, 2151hrs- Gas Leak

8/2/22, 0132hrs- MVA 8/2/22, 0620hrs- Car Fire 8/2/22, 1011hrs- Assist Public

Thanks to Troy Pearson / TNV for the great on-the-spot pix.

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