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Maryland: The Speed Camera Fire Hazard
Speed camera in Fruitland, Maryland becomes the latest to spontaneously combust.

A speed camera van in Fruitland, Maryland spontaneously caught fire on November 27, the Pulse of Salisbury blog reported. Officials explained that the extra batteries installed in the vehicle caused an electrical fire and emphasized that this was not a vigilante attack.

Throughout the world, spontaneously combusting speed cameras have caused significant damage. In March, a speed camera car burned down a police garage in Colmar, France destroying seventeen patrol vehicles. That same month, a photo radar van in North Wales, UK caught fire. On February 21, a speed camera vehicle in Mount Carmel, Tennessee caught fire and burned down a barn.

The Fruitland camera is owned and operated by a Redspeed, a UK firm, that had initially partnered with a new entrant into the automated ticketing machine business, Brekford. Although state law requires cameras to be placed in school zones, the exploding camera van was positioned outside a posted school zone. Brekford explained its motivation in a December 19, 2009 press release announcing the deal with Fruitland.

"The state of Maryland's significant expansion and implementation of speed control systems throughout the state is estimated to generate $65.3 million in new photo ticket revenues by 2014 and an estimated $9.8 million opportunity for private sector companies servicing the public safety landscape," the release stated.

RedSpeed ended its partnership with Brekford in April.

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