Car fires in Hailsham town spark warning by fire chief

HAILSHAM firefighters were called out to two deliberate car fires on the same day last weekend – sparking a warning for residents from a fire service manager.

The first incident happened in Pelham Crescent, Hailsham, at 2.14am on Sunday morning, March 18.

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus used firefighting foam (known as one-seven foam) to tackle the blaze.

The second incident took place in Swan Road on the same day at 9.15pm.

Firefighters used one hose reel jet to tackle the fire and the crew left the incident at 10.09pm.

Watch Manager Jacob Brooks of the East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service Arson and Incident Reduction Team was concerned about residents understanding the real dangers which can be caused by car fires.

He told the Sussex Express: “All fires are dangerous but there’s always a risk that those who set fire to vehicles place themselves in immediate danger.

“Vapours from accelerants used can ignite causing serious burns to those nearby.

“Modern vehicles may also have components which burn with a fierce intensity, placing the perpetrator or a passer-by at risk.

“Fuel from the vehicle may also catch light and become a ‘running fuel fire’.

“Modern vehicles can also bring their own problems with hybrid vehicles having batteries which, if damaged and involved in a fire, give off highly poisonous gas.”

Cylinders from LPG vehicles can also ‘vent off’, rupture or explode when involved in a fire for a sustained period of time, the watch manager pointed out in his warning.

He added: “The environmental impact can also be great with chemicals entering our water supplies, as well as causing damage to the road surface and fire damage to the surrounding environment.

“When attending calls to car fires East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service uses different firefighting methods to minimise damage to the environment, as well as making the area safe for the public.”