I was the Lieutenant on a 2- man engine. We were preparing to go off shift when we received a call for a car fire less than 2 miles from our station.
We donned all our PPE and responded with our normal response, one engine. Enroute we could see a small column of smoke. Upon arrival we found the vehicle (Jeep Cherokee) was a of a mile off the road. As we made our way back to the fire we could see the vehicle was fully involved, when we were approximately 1000 feet from the fire, the vehicle exploded sending parts up to 150 feet away and starting a grass fire.
We stopped and asked the driver what was in the vehicle, he worked for a landscape company and was only picking up plants and nothing was inside.
We requested another unit to respond and preceded to the fire. After extinguishing the fire and upon investigation we discovered the catalytic converter had started a grass fire which spread to the vehicle, but what caused the powerful explosion, which blew off the roof
and blew a large hole in the floor. We discovered the owner of the landscape company (not the driver) had left 4 dive bottles in the back of the Jeep, 2 had exploded and 2 had bust disc blown. So much for routine fires , We were blessed, If the fire had been on
the main road, we would not be here today. As a Battalion Chief, I always tell my crews to wear ALL their PPE and to fight car fires from as far away as their hose stream will reach
(unless there is a life hazard), until they have the fire knocked down.