The pictures definitely show a scary situation. Glad you made it out unharmed.
My wife is a forensic scientist, so we both follow changes in the field pretty closely. As you may know, fire investigation has a big black eye for having perpetuated junk science for many decades. So although your investigatorís conclusions may be valid, I wouldnít put a lot of energy into it - if that makes any sense.
Iím interested to hear more about that. I have Halotron fire extinguishers in all my vehicles but have some doubts that Iíd be able to use them in an engine fire situation ... just getting the hood/bonnet/cover open without getting burned might be a challenge. Anyway, interested in the actions you took in this situation and your general comments.
Hmm, British cars have leaked oil for the better part of a century, it is usually fuel that set them alight.
First off, thank you. I was lucky to get out, as the situation escalated rapidly.
You are both right, I don't put much trust into the investigator's conclusion, but I left it in the post because people always ask "so, what caused the fire." Truth is, I don't know. I'm not sure I agree or disagree with the findings. By the time I saw it, everything was a melted mess. What I do know is that fiberglass is considered an accelerant, and the smell of oil, metal, plastic, fiberglass burning will never come out of the clothes I was in that day. If that's the total amount of my loss (a car and some clothing/supplies) I count myself lucky.
REGARDING THE COMMENTS I MAKE BELOW: I AM NOT AN EXPERT, I AM NOT LIABLE FOR ANYONE READING THIS AND ASSUMING THIS IS, AT ALL, THE MOST ACCURATE/SAFEST/ETC. I'M SPEAKING FROM LIMITED EXPERIENCE AND LESSONS FROM A FEW DIFFERENT DE EVENTS. DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH PLEASE.
As for your fire safety questions. DO NOT OPEN THE ENGINE COMPARTMENT, that may introduce a lot more oxygen in. Here's some things I've learned, but I do not pretend to be an expert. There are great articles online about all of this.
1- GET OUT SAFELY: This means stop the car, and get out. But things to think about IF YOU HAVE TIME, are: e-brake & nuetral and pulling the key (or cutting power) so your not pouring in more fuel. (EFI, etc if left on can cause bigger fires)
2- call 9-1-1 or track support
3- Run - it could fireball, or "pop" and you want to be far away from shooting flames or debris
4- NEVER GO BACK IN FOR STUFF - the FD at the scene told me they rarely see dead people in the seat of a car, mostly it's someone reaching back in, knocked out by a lungful of black smoke, and dead from inhalation.
5- If you have an extinguisher, and the fire is still small, AND YOU ALREADY TOOK IT OUT OF THE CAR shoot it through open gaps, never open a compartment. On an elise, this can mean the grills of the engine lid, or similar.
6- Run towards traffic (but safely off the road), so that others know you are out of the car, and don't attempt a dangerous rescue. Or, if you need help, you can flag it down quickly.
Here's where things get interesting. You want to be in your seatbelt/harness while the car is moving. But if you are on fire, there's a risk that the belt or mechanism will melt, or otherwise become inoperable, and pinning you in the fiery car. I subscribe to the school of, "if the brakes are working, undo the belt." But that's not advise for anyone/everyone. In my case, I hit the brakes, as I slowed under 20, I pulled the ebrake, and unharnessed as my car came to a stop. So once stopped, it was just key out, and run.