Hybrid Car Catches on Fire, Injuring Firefighter

The firefighter suffered burns to his face while fighting the fire in Sydney, Australia.
Hybrid Car Catches on Fire, Injuring Firefighter
The scene of the hybrid vehicle fire in New South Wales. (Courtesy of Fire and Rescue NSW)
Monica O’Shea

A firefighter has suffered burns to his face after a hybrid car caught on fire in the suburb of Camperdown in Sydney’s inner west.

The cabin of the hybrid Volvo SUV caught on fire on Ross Street at about 4.40 a.m. on June 13, according to Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW).

Fire crews arrived quickly at the scene to find the car “smoldering,” authorities explained.

“When a firefighter opened a car door, a flashover occurred, causing minor burns to his face,” FRNSW said.

The firefighter was treated at the scene by ambulance paramedics for superficial burns and minor smoke inhalation.

The lithium-ion battery under the cabin appeared cool and intact and was not identified as the cause of the fire by FRNSW at this stage.

However, the fire investigation and research unit is still working to discover the origin of the blaze.

Firefighters in NSW work to extinguish a hybrid vehicle blaze. (Courtesy of Fire and Rescue NSW)
Firefighters in NSW work to extinguish a hybrid vehicle blaze. (Courtesy of Fire and Rescue NSW)
In late May, four people were treated by paramedics after an intense house fire in Sydney’s northern beaches.

Early indicators pointed to an e-scooter on charge inside the house being the possible cause of the fire.

“The nature of Lithium-ion battery fires is extremely volatile,” FRNSW’s Inspector Steven Perkins said.

“When these devices fail, they tend to do so extremely quickly and with great intensity.

“Despite how quickly the fire took hold, our crews successfully prevented it from spreading throughout the entire home to neighbouring properties.”

What kind of Cars are Aussies Buying?

Meanwhile, hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicle sales are growing rapidly according to the latest data from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI).

The figures, released on June 5, showed monthly hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicle sales captured 15.8 percent of the market in May, compared to 7.9 percent in the previous year.

Hybrid vehicles have both a gasoline engine and an electric motor, whereas plug-in hybrid vehicles have larger batteries that can be charged by plugging into an external electric power source.

Battery electric vehicle sales also rose slightly, making up 8.1 percent of new sales compared to 7.7 percent in the same month next year.

Overall, new vehicle sales rose 5.1 percent in May 2024 to 111,099 new vehicles up from 105,694 in the prior corresponding month in 2023.

The sports utility market rose 1.2 percent, while the heavy commercial vehicle market increased by 1.1 percent from May 2023.

FCAI Chief Executive Tony Weber said overall it was another record-breaking month that underscores the ongoing strength of the industry.

“The Australian market is one of the most open and competitive in the world which supply consumers with a wide choice of vehicle across all segments and price categories,” he said.

“The continued growth highlights consumer confidence and the industry’s ability to meet diverse needs of Australian motorists despite current economic challenges.”

Monica O’Shea is a reporter based in Australia. She previously worked as a reporter for Motley Fool Australia, Daily Mail Australia, and Fairfax Regional Media.
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