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ArchGuy1
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Fire at Fort Myers Airport (Apr. 3)

Mon Apr 06, 2020 6:39 pm

On Friday night, a fire at Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers destroyed or damaged 3,500 rental cars that were on a grassy area. Firefighters contained the blaze using helicopters that were used to dump water on the flames and witnesses saw multiple small explosions and flames leaping into the air. The fire was seen to be spreading higher even as helicopters continued to drop water and fire trucks emptied their tanks to fight the inferno and over 80 drops were used to fight the fire. About 3,850 cars were undamaged with air traffic and other operations being unaffected. It was a huge fire that thankfully did not result in loss of life and hopefully, a solution will be found to prevent something like this from happening again.
https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.dailym ... -cars.html
Last edited by atcsundevil on Mon Apr 06, 2020 8:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Edited title for clarity
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Fire at Fort Myers Airport

Mon Apr 06, 2020 6:49 pm

Evidently, started as a grass fire before turning into the world’s largest car fire. It’s been hit and dry in Florida, which helped, or rather, hurt. Another effect of the Great Economic Collapse.
 
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Spacepope
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Re: Fire at Fort Myers Airport

Mon Apr 06, 2020 7:01 pm

All those poor base model Dodge Chargers and Chevy Impalas....

Looks like somebody learned the hard way about parking catalytic converters on dry grass.
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catiii
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Re: Fire at Fort Myers Airport

Mon Apr 06, 2020 7:14 pm

Was it an accident or an "accident?"
 
WaywardMemphian
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Re: Fire at Fort Myers Airport

Mon Apr 06, 2020 7:17 pm

A cousin saw this in real time and sent video of it. It was massive
 
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airportugal310
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Re: Fire at Fort Myers Airport

Mon Apr 06, 2020 7:21 pm

catiii wrote:
Was it an accident or an "accident?"


I had the same exact thought lol
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DL747400
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Re: Fire at Fort Myers Airport

Mon Apr 06, 2020 7:26 pm

The unburned grass looks very dry from the pics and video. Who is the imbecile who made this decision? And what in the hell were they thinking? I wonder whether these cars were spread among all of the major rental companies, or were all of the cars owned by the same company? There will most certainly be some significant litigation arising from this one.
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NWAESC
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Re: Fire at Fort Myers Airport

Mon Apr 06, 2020 7:39 pm

Spacepope wrote:
All those poor base model Dodge Chargers and Chevy Impalas....

Looks like somebody learned the hard way about parking catalytic converters on dry grass.


What about a catalytic converter makes it more/less worse than any other part of a hot engine on dry grass?
"Nothing ever happens here, " I said. "I just wait."
 
ltbewr
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Re: Fire at Fort Myers Airport

Mon Apr 06, 2020 7:41 pm

Apparently this was an 'overflow' parking lot for rental vehicles based at that airport. Most of them would have been in use if it was normal times. Likely this will be covered by the rental car companies insurers. Usually rental car companies have high deductible polices, often have 'captive' insurance divisions based in Bermuda or other business insurance friendly locations as well as excess insurance for major losses like this. 3,500 cares x average value of $25,000 = about $87,000,000 for replacement plus several million more for removal, scrapping, paperwork costs, rebuilding the lot, replacements although that may be delayed as demand will be zilch for a while there and elsewhere.
 
ltbewr
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Re: Fire at Fort Myers Airport

Mon Apr 06, 2020 7:46 pm

NWAESC wrote:
Spacepope wrote:
All those poor base model Dodge Chargers and Chevy Impalas....

Looks like somebody learned the hard way about parking catalytic converters on dry grass.


What about a catalytic converter makes it more/less worse than any other part of a hot engine on dry grass?

This event was caused by a large brush file that moved onto the lot.
Yes, hot catalytic converters can set grass on fire under them, happens from time to time.
 
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NWAESC
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Re: Fire at Fort Myers Airport

Mon Apr 06, 2020 7:47 pm

Thanks. I guess I'm asking if they run that much hotter than other parts of the exhaust or engine block.
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ojjunior
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Re: Fire at Fort Myers Airport

Mon Apr 06, 2020 8:00 pm

WaywardMemphian wrote:
A cousin saw this in real time and sent video of it. It was massive


Care to share?
 
sonicruiser
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Re: Fire at Fort Myers Airport

Mon Apr 06, 2020 8:07 pm

Estimated damages $100m writeoff. 3,500 cars destroyed. Immense destruction. I would not want to be their insurance right now.

That fire was absolutely massive, in fact that's probably an understatement.

Photos courtesy Charlotte County Sheriff's office

https://www.facebook.com/CCSOFLSheriff/ ... =3&theater

https://www.reddit.com/r/FortMyers/comm ... destroyed/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4v3f7-wO7M

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Last edited by sonicruiser on Mon Apr 06, 2020 8:29 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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WaywardMemphian
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Re: Fire at Fort Myers Airport

Mon Apr 06, 2020 8:14 pm

ojjunior wrote:
WaywardMemphian wrote:
A cousin saw this in real time and sent video of it. It was massive


Care to share?



It was a facebook post and it is set to private
 
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Re: Fire at Fort Myers Airport

Mon Apr 06, 2020 8:21 pm

NWAESC wrote:
Thanks. I guess I'm asking if they run that much hotter than other parts of the exhaust or engine block.


They're typically the hottest part of the exhaust system that is located close to the ground. I don't know whether there are hotter portions up in the engine.
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ua900
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Re: Fire at Fort Myers Airport

Mon Apr 06, 2020 8:26 pm

catiii wrote:
Was it an accident or an "accident?"


^^^This^^^

Reminds me of all the factory fires in Red China lately. The timing seems favorable for the car rental place, to say the least. No one will say its malicious at this point pending an investigation on how it got started. Maybe it's time for rental cars to do more social distancing :-)

ltbewr wrote:
...rebuilding the lot, replacements although that may be delayed as demand will be zilch for a while there and elsewhere.


No lot to rebuild here, just sow some grass. If there was any concrete surface involved that cost wouldn't be high either. No need for replacements anytime soon, could just draw from other stations if needed. Rented a car at DFW this weekend, and I've never seen a lot this full. Cars parked bumper to bumper in most rows, so one couldn't even rent those since there was no way to get them out. One or two rows left useable. We always think about the airlines here, but hotels, rental cars, etc, all these ancillary industries, they also suffer tremendously right now because they are joined at the hip.
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Okie
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Re: Fire at Fort Myers Airport

Mon Apr 06, 2020 8:40 pm

3,500 cars X what 15gal of petrol = 52,000 gallons of petrol and 14,000 tires not counting the other petroleum based materials like interiors etc.
That should make a pretty good fire.

NWAESC wrote:
Thanks. I guess I'm asking if they run that much hotter than other parts of the exhaust or engine block.

They complete the combustion of the unburned gases in the exhaust. Mainly Carbon monoxide CO but also sulfur and a few other pollutants.
They normally operate at 1200-1600deg F. So they get exceptionally hot.
Depending on the model of vehicle and location of the catalytic converter most have a heat shield to protect from starting grass fires.

catiii wrote:
Was it an accident or an "accident?"

Well my understanding is if you rub Mortgage papers and Insurance papers together in the same drawer of a desk that it can cause a pretty large fire.
However, it looks accidental at this point.

Okie
 
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Re: Fire at Fort Myers Airport

Mon Apr 06, 2020 8:49 pm

Spacepope wrote:
All those poor base model Dodge Chargers and Chevy Impalas....

Looks like somebody learned the hard way about parking catalytic converters on dry grass.


Most popular FCA rental model right now would probably be the Jeep Compass. For GM it would most likely be the Chevrolet Equinox. And way more Nissan Rogues, Hyundai Tucsons/Santa Fes. and Kia Souls/Sportages than either of those, as can be seen in the photos above. Not that many 4-dr sedans in rental fleets anymore, just as not many sedans are sold as a whole compared to CUVs/SUVs.
 
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Seabear
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Re: Fire at Fort Myers Airport (Apr. 3)

Mon Apr 06, 2020 8:59 pm

Hope they bought the CDW at the rental counter...

/s
 
sonicruiser
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Re: Fire at Fort Myers Airport (Apr. 3)

Mon Apr 06, 2020 9:11 pm

Seabear wrote:
Hope they bought the CDW at the rental counter...

/s


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canyonblue17
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Re: Fire at Fort Myers Airport (Apr. 3)

Mon Apr 06, 2020 9:39 pm

Come to PBI - it has the same exact problem. Many of the excess rental cars have been moved to the paved long-term parking area, but there are hundreds more still parked on a grass lot adjacent to the airport.
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AA777223
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Re: Fire at Fort Myers Airport

Mon Apr 06, 2020 9:45 pm

Okie wrote:
3,500 cars X what 15gal of petrol = 52,000 gallons of petrol and 14,000 tires not counting the other petroleum based materials like interiors etc.
That should make a pretty good fire.

NWAESC wrote:
Thanks. I guess I'm asking if they run that much hotter than other parts of the exhaust or engine block.

They complete the combustion of the unburned gases in the exhaust. Mainly Carbon monoxide CO but also sulfur and a few other pollutants.
They normally operate at 1200-1600deg F. So they get exceptionally hot.
Depending on the model of vehicle and location of the catalytic converter most have a heat shield to protect from starting grass fires.

catiii wrote:
Was it an accident or an "accident?"

Well my understanding is if you rub Mortgage papers and Insurance papers together in the same drawer of a desk that it can cause a pretty large fire.
However, it looks accidental at this point.

Okie

Just as Okie has stated, the chemical reaction that takes place in the catalytic converter makes them extremely hot - hotter than any other part of the car. While they do usually have a heat shield, their location underneath the vehicle combined with dry enough grass can be ignited, let alone if the shield is missing.
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Re: Fire at Fort Myers Airport (Apr. 3)

Mon Apr 06, 2020 10:05 pm

Wasn’t it Fort Myers that had a truck drive through the rental car desk and baggage claim earlier this year or was that Sarasota?
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727LOVER
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Re: Fire at Fort Myers Airport (Apr. 3)

Mon Apr 06, 2020 10:11 pm

SuseJ772 wrote:
Wasn’t it Fort Myers that had a truck drive through the rental car desk and baggage claim earlier this year or was that Sarasota?


That was SRQ
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Re: Fire at Fort Myers Airport (Apr. 3)

Mon Apr 06, 2020 10:56 pm

canyonblue17 wrote:
Come to PBI - it has the same exact problem. Many of the excess rental cars have been moved to the paved long-term parking area, but there are hundreds more still parked on a grass lot adjacent to the airport.


There must be thousands of rental cars parked bumper-to-bumper, door handle-to-door handle in grass fields just east of FLL. I did a dummy booking for a rental car at FLL and I can get a full size car for $12 a day.
 
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Re: Fire at Fort Myers Airport (Apr. 3)

Mon Apr 06, 2020 11:30 pm

Seabear wrote:
Hope they bought the CDW at the rental counter...

/s


No need, it was covered through their Amex Platinum. Everyone knows that CDWs are a scam and surely this wasn't :D
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NWAESC
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Re: Fire at Fort Myers Airport (Apr. 3)

Tue Apr 07, 2020 12:13 am

Okie & AA777223–

Good info, and thank you.
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GoSteelers
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Re: Fire at Fort Myers Airport (Apr. 3)

Tue Apr 07, 2020 1:42 am

The Fort Myers area, as I would assume much of southern Florida, is a extremely seasonal rental car market. The company’s move thousand’s of cars down in preparation for “the season”; snowbirds coming south for the winter. Normally, those cars are in use as March and April are the busiest times for the Fort Myers area as the spring breakers join the snowbirds. I’m sure the car companies had little time to deal with all of the newfound excess capacity with the lack of travel. The entire north side of RSW, where the old terminal area used to be, was always filled with rental cars in a normal year, so I can imagine what it was like with COVID.
 
phatfarmlines
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Re: Fire at Fort Myers Airport (Apr. 3)

Tue Apr 07, 2020 2:28 am

That's one way to keep cars off the used market. Such a shame.

I'd imagine this will set a precedent that cars have to be parked on pavement?
 
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Spacepope
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Re: Fire at Fort Myers Airport

Tue Apr 07, 2020 4:26 am

mga707 wrote:
Spacepope wrote:
All those poor base model Dodge Chargers and Chevy Impalas....

Looks like somebody learned the hard way about parking catalytic converters on dry grass.


Most popular FCA rental model right now would probably be the Jeep Compass. For GM it would most likely be the Chevrolet Equinox. And way more Nissan Rogues, Hyundai Tucsons/Santa Fes. and Kia Souls/Sportages than either of those, as can be seen in the photos above. Not that many 4-dr sedans in rental fleets anymore, just as not many sedans are sold as a whole compared to CUVs/SUVs.

So pretty much just Jeeps being Jeeps then.
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JayinKitsap
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Re: Fire at Fort Myers Airport

Tue Apr 07, 2020 7:13 am

NWAESC wrote:
Spacepope wrote:
All those poor base model Dodge Chargers and Chevy Impalas....

Looks like somebody learned the hard way about parking catalytic converters on dry grass.


What about a catalytic converter makes it more/less worse than any other part of a hot engine on dry grass?


The catalyst causes the last of the unburned fuel to burn, they are very hot.

The average light off temperature at which the catalytic converter begins to function ranges from 400 to 600 degrees F. The normal operating temperature can range up to 1,200 to 1,600 degrees F. But as the amount of pollutants in the exhaust go up, so does the converter's operating temperature.


https://www.aa1car.com/library/converter.htm
 
nkops
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Re: Fire at Fort Myers Airport (Apr. 3)

Tue Apr 07, 2020 12:21 pm

canyonblue17 wrote:
Come to PBI - it has the same exact problem. Many of the excess rental cars have been moved to the paved long-term parking area, but there are hundreds more still parked on a grass lot adjacent to the airport.


Unfortunately, that is probably the case at most Florida airports.. here in SFB, we have about 400 hundred or so excess cars in various grass lots around the airports. No where else to put them right now
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sailsail
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Re: Fire at Fort Myers Airport (Apr. 3)

Tue Apr 07, 2020 1:13 pm

bohica wrote:
canyonblue17 wrote:
Come to PBI - it has the same exact problem. Many of the excess rental cars have been moved to the paved long-term parking area, but there are hundreds more still parked on a grass lot adjacent to the airport.


There must be thousands of rental cars parked bumper-to-bumper, door handle-to-door handle in grass fields just east of FLL. I did a dummy booking for a rental car at FLL and I can get a full size car for $12 a day.



Wow I didn’t believe you so I checked.... I can rent a Nissan Frontier for two weeks cheaper than half a monthly payment.

Gives perspective as to how bad this situation is. If I didn’t work in aviation and if I had a job that I knew I would not lose then I would probably rent it.
 
WayexTDI
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Re: Fire at Fort Myers Airport (Apr. 3)

Tue Apr 07, 2020 2:06 pm

"More than 3,500 rental vehicles were damaged or destroyed as a huge fire ripped through Florida airport lot"
"Another 3,850 vehicles were undamaged, according to airport spokeswoman Vicki Moreland."

That's over 7,000 vehicles that were parked on that grass parking lot; seems quite high to me...
 
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ojjunior
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Re: Fire at Fort Myers Airport (Apr. 3)

Tue Apr 07, 2020 2:22 pm

 
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Seabear
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Re: Fire at Fort Myers Airport (Apr. 3)

Tue Apr 07, 2020 2:32 pm

WayexTDI wrote:
"More than 3,500 rental vehicles were damaged or destroyed as a huge fire ripped through Florida airport lot"
"Another 3,850 vehicles were undamaged, according to airport spokeswoman Vicki Moreland."

That's over 7,000 vehicles that were parked on that grass parking lot; seems quite high to me...


Ever been to SW Florida during high season? In a normal year every one of those cars would be in one long traffic jam on Tamiami Trail. :-)
 
MIflyer12
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Re: Fire at Fort Myers Airport (Apr. 3)

Tue Apr 07, 2020 2:46 pm

Has it been established (local fire marshall?) that the fire was started by hot cars parked on tall grass? I mean, a delivery driver flicking a cigarette seems just as likely...
 
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SEPilot
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Re: Fire at Fort Myers Airport (Apr. 3)

Tue Apr 07, 2020 3:09 pm

The catalytic converters only gets hot after driving for a while. Cars being returned will be cleaned and checked before being moved to the grass, giving the catalytic converters a chance to cool. A car with a cold converter that is started and only run long enough to park on the grass (which all of them will be) will not heat the catalytic converters up enough to start a fire.
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sgbroimp
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Re: Fire at Fort Myers Airport (Apr. 3)

Tue Apr 07, 2020 3:15 pm

"Let Hertz put you in the....er....hot seat"!
 
dfwjim1
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Re: Fire at Fort Myers Airport (Apr. 3)

Tue Apr 07, 2020 3:27 pm

bohica wrote:
canyonblue17 wrote:
Come to PBI - it has the same exact problem. Many of the excess rental cars have been moved to the paved long-term parking area, but there are hundreds more still parked on a grass lot adjacent to the airport.


There must be thousands of rental cars parked bumper-to-bumper, door handle-to-door handle in grass fields just east of FLL. I did a dummy booking for a rental car at FLL and I can get a full size car for $12 a day.


I found rental cars at FLL for $6 per day at an off site agency for next weekend.
 
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william
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Re: Fire at Fort Myers Airport (Apr. 3)

Tue Apr 07, 2020 3:41 pm

ua900 wrote:
Seabear wrote:
Hope they bought the CDW at the rental counter...

/s


No need, it was covered through their Amex Platinum. Everyone knows that CDWs are a scam and surely this wasn't :D


No, its a profit generator.
 
RobertS975
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Re: Fire at Fort Myers Airport

Tue Apr 07, 2020 5:02 pm

NWAESC wrote:
Spacepope wrote:
All those poor base model Dodge Chargers and Chevy Impalas....

Looks like somebody learned the hard way about parking catalytic converters on dry grass.


What about a catalytic converter makes it more/less worse than any other part of a hot engine on dry grass?


It is something that people out in "fire country" like Oregon and Idaho know well, but most Easterners have never heard of this... the catalytic converters in cars can get very hot, and parking the cars in very dry grass lots can set up fires.
 
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NWAESC
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Re: Fire at Fort Myers Airport

Tue Apr 07, 2020 8:09 pm

RobertS975 wrote:
It is something that people out in "fire country" like Oregon and Idaho know well, but most Easterners have never heard of this... the catalytic converters in cars can get very hot, and parking the cars in very dry grass lots can set up fires.


I'm from Oregon! lol.

I knew parking on dry grass isn't good- I just didn't realize a catalytic converter ran "that much" hotter than the rest of the exhaust system/engine block/etc.
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ScottB
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Re: Fire at Fort Myers Airport

Wed Apr 08, 2020 4:36 am

mga707 wrote:
And way more Nissan Rogues, Hyundai Tucsons/Santa Fes. and Kia Souls/Sportages than either of those, as can be seen in the photos above.


A Nissan Rogue going up in flames is an improvement...
 
pezzy669
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Re: Fire at Fort Myers Airport

Wed Apr 08, 2020 5:16 am

ScottB wrote:
mga707 wrote:
And way more Nissan Rogues, Hyundai Tucsons/Santa Fes. and Kia Souls/Sportages than either of those, as can be seen in the photos above.


A Nissan Rogue going up in flames is an improvement...


:lol:

I vote for either the hot catalytic converter igniting some grass - or just one car with a random defect that sent it up in flames and took out all the cars around it (hybrid battery thermal runaway, electrical fire, etc.) Normal times the defective car would have just burnt up while not being packed in with thousands of other cars.
 
tcfc424
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Re: Fire at Fort Myers Airport (Apr. 3)

Wed Apr 08, 2020 5:29 am

In a previous life I was a professional firefighter, and my money would be on hot exhaust (catalytic converter) contacting the grass as the source of the fire. Given the damage seen from the videos and photos, it very well could be that this fire cause remains "undetermined." (I did take a fire cause and origin course through the National Fire Academy) To the point of a new protocol requiring cars to be parked on pavement...my guess is that would be a non-starter in the current environment. More likely, frequent application of water prior to vehicles being positioned in grass. It boggles my mind how this grew so big...I can understand how hot it was, but just like any wildland fire, you create a fire break...grab an aircraft pushback tug and start pushing cars. Plus, the ARFF units have AFFF available to lay down a blanket of foam...not going to tailboard it here, but I would LOVE to be part of the official incident review, I'll bet it's a doozy!

*edited for spelling
*edited for grammar and clarity
 
alasizon
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Re: Fire at Fort Myers Airport (Apr. 3)

Wed Apr 08, 2020 5:49 am

I seem to recall there was an article from one of the local news stations that stated it started out as a grass fire with a rapid rate of spread and then spread to the cars, not that it was caused by one of the cars.
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ba319-131
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Re: Fire at Fort Myers Airport (Apr. 3)

Wed Apr 08, 2020 7:27 am

Car hire firms typically self insure their vehicles, nobody to claim these losses from.
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Re: Fire at Fort Myers Airport (Apr. 3)

Wed Apr 08, 2020 10:56 am

alasizon wrote:
I seem to recall there was an article from one of the local news stations that stated it started out as a grass fire with a rapid rate of spread and then spread to the cars, not that it was caused by one of the cars.


You can also tell from looking at one of the videos that it was a wind driven event as well.
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ltbewr
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Re: Fire at Fort Myers Airport (Apr. 3)

Wed Apr 08, 2020 12:53 pm

ba319-131 wrote:
Car hire firms typically self insure their vehicles, nobody to claim these losses from.

The major car rental companies likely have captive insurance and reinsurance subsidiaries, based in Bermuda or like tax dodging country, as well as excess insurance placements to cover major losses. In turn those subsidiaries work via Lloyds of London to place risks with numerous others so no one company is hurt. They may not get any insurance reimbursement for loss of use as, well, they were not in use due to the pandemic that caused them to be parked. As another post noted above, the losses are estimated be in the $100,000,000 range so they will be spread out, after a substantial deductible ($5-10 Million) to a number of layers of insurance and the companies involved.

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Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos