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ISP warns motorists about vehicle fires

As the weather heats up, car fires are becoming a bigger worry for police.

“A lot of agencies are on pins and needles,” Idaho State Police Lt. Chris Weadick said. “This time of the year, the vehicles are running hot, we’re running our air conditioners, the temperatures are in the high — upper 90s — and we’re starting to see a number of vehicle fires.”

Weadick said once the fire starts, it doesn’t take long for flames to engulf the car. He also mentioned the added danger of brush on the side of the highway, which can catch and feed the flames.

“It really is a recipe for disaster,” Weadick said.

Weadick said the first step to preventing a vehicle fire is to check under the hood.

“The main thing we need to watch for is oil leaks,” said Scott MacKay, a mechanic. “When people add oil to the engine, sometimes they spill.”

MacKay also suggested cleaning debris from the vehicle and checking the battery.

“We need to make sure (the battery) is clean. Make sure it’s securely fastened to the vehicle so it’s not moving around. The battery can actually move, contact a metal point, short out and cause a fire,” MacKay said.

“Protect yourself, your family, your loved ones,” Weadick said, in the event that your vehicle does catch fire. “Whoever’s in the vehicle, get them out. Get them to safety.”

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