Four in three days: Spate of car fires prompts warning
A RAPID ticking noise was the only warning as Paul Murray's car caught fire on a Sunshine Coast suburban street.
Mr Murray was just a kilometre from his Image Flat home, with his youngest daughter in the car, when he pulled over on Carter Rd at Nambour to investigate the strange noise coming from the Volkswagen Golf.
"I was a bit shocked to open the bonnet and saw it was already on fire," he said.
The blaze, which left the vehicle a burnt husk, was the second in a string of car fires that claimed four vehicles and one caravan in three days.
The spate began on Monday when two vehicles caught fire, the first on the Sunshine Mwy at Sippy Downs about 4pm and the second claiming Mr Murray's car.
Firefighters were called to two more vehicle fires on Wednesday, with a car and caravan totalled by fire on the Bruce Hwy at Kybong about 2.30pm and another car alight on Cluny Dr at Buderim about 5.30pm.
Mr Murray closed the bonnet after discovering the fire to reduce its oxygen intake, but even the efforts of a neighbour with a fire extinguisher failed to stop the blaze as it consumed the Golf.
"Because the fire was under the car, (the fire extinguisher) didn't have much of an impact," Mr Murray said.
Both he and his daughter escaped the incident unscathed, and the vehicle was insured.
OEM Denied Performance owner Jamie Fonfe said as a modified car specialist, most of the car fire damage he dealt with was a result of improperly installed modifications.
He said car owners installing aftermarket electronic systems without fuses were asking for an electrical fire, and lowered vehicles could be a hazard when they drove over grass.
He urged car owners to keep a small CO2 or powder fire extinguisher in the vehicle's boot, and said it could be the difference between the car sustaining a small amount of repairable damage or becoming a write-off.
"Have a fire extinguisher in your car," he said.
"I don't understand why people don't do it."
He said if a fire started under the bonnet of the car, keep it closed to avoid giving the fire a source of oxygen.
"The worst thing you can do is open the bonnet," he said.
"Spray that extinguisher through the grille."