Over 3,500 Rental Cars Lost In Airport Fire, Probably Including One Or Two Good Ones

If you’ve ever been curious about how densely rental car companies park their fleets at airports, over 3,500 rental cars just burned up in a massive 15-acre fire in Florida.


If you were curious, that’s about 233 rental cars parked per acre.

The fire broke out at Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) near Fort Myers, Florida on Friday in a grassy field used for overflow rental car parking, according to the local WINK news. When the call went out, it’s estimated only 20 cars were engulfed in the blaze.

The ground crew was also assisted by 80 water airdrops from air units, and it reportedly took every fire crew in the airport’s county to eventually get the blaze under control about 18 hours later, after over 3,500 vehicles had been lost, according to CNN.

That’s a long time, and the photos show a lot of black smoke blacking out the sky. Keep in mind the nation is currently on lockdown because of COVID-19 and our emergency response systems are already overloaded in many areas. So battling a big, complicated burner like this is going to just be that much harder.

The cause of the fire is still unknown and under investigation. It’s been reported that no one was injured.


The rental companies involved and the make and model of the vehicles lost to the fire has not yet been reported, though it’s safe to assume it was a grassy field full of Toyota Camrys, Corollas, Nissans and Chevys and the like.


But this is also Southwest Florida. I bet they get kind of wild with their rental cars. I mean wild like convertible Mustangs, definitely convertible Camaros. Probably that unfortunate Buick convertible that didn’t stick around very long, too. You may think I’m mocking Florida, but I love convertibles. This loss saddens me.


Reviews Editor, Jalopnik



I’m betting on some sort of insurance fraud. Car rentals have tanked with the virus and these companies aren’t getting any kind of bailout. I know some car companies are self-insured, so I’m curious if the ones lost in the blaze fall under that umbrella or not.