Ute fire in Cairns street prompts warning

An electrical fault has been blamed for a vehicle fire in a Cairns street on Tuesday night.

Cairns Post reported emergency crews were called to reports of flames coming from underneath the bonnet of a Ford Ranger utility just before 6.45pm in Abbott Street.

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RACQ Head of Technical and Safety Policy Steve Spalding said it was a timely reminder to motorists about the importance of knowing what to do in the event of a vehicle fire.

“While vehicle fires are rare in Queensland, they can happen and drivers should know how to react,” Mr Spalding said.

“Should a driver see early signs of a car fire, such as smoke or a burning smell, they need to immediately stop the vehicle, preferably away from other vehicles and buildings. The driver then needs to shut down the engine and get passengers and animals out quickly before calling emergency services.

“It’s obviously important everyone keeps well clear of the vehicle – don’t try to open the bonnet and tackle the fire. Also, make sure you’re aware of nearby traffic so you keep clear of passing vehicles which could strike you or your passengers.”

Mr Spalding said there were several ways drivers could reduce the risk of a vehicle fire including:

  • Ensuring maintenance was up to date. Always have any fuel odours or leaks investigated
  • Engines should be washed down to remove grease and oil build up
  • Underbody areas should be kept clean of grass and debris, particularly around the exhaust system
  • Any fitment of electrical accessories is carried out properly and to a trade-like standard
  • Avoid carrying spare fuel unless necessary and if you do, always used an approved fuel container for the fuel type
  • Never drive a vehicle with a missing, damaged or incorrectly fitted fuel filler cap.