Highway vehicle fire data based on the experiences of US fire departments
Article first published online: 8 JUL 2012
Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Fire and Materials
Volume 37, Issue 5, pages 401–412, August/September 2013
How to Cite
Ahrens, M. (2013), Highway vehicle fire data based on the experiences of US fire departments. Fire Mater., 37: 401–412. doi: 10.1002/fam.2146
- Issue published online: 8 AUG 2013
- Article first published online: 8 JUL 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 10 JUN 2012
- Manuscript Revised: 19 MAR 2012
- Manuscript Received: 22 SEP 2010
- vehicle fires;
- fire deaths;
- fire statistics
In 2003–2007, US fire departments responded to an average of 267 600 highway vehicle fires per year. These fires caused an average of 441 civilian deaths, 1326 civilian injuries, and $1.0bn (in US dollars) in direct property damage annually. Highway vehicles include cars, trucks, and other vehicles designed for highway use; highway vehicle fires can occur anywhere, not just on a highway. While these fires and associated losses have been falling in recent years, highway vehicles fires accounted for 17% of reported US fires, 12% of US fire deaths, 8% of US civilian fire injuries, and 9% of the direct property damage from reported fires. Data from the US Fire Administration's National Fire Incident Reporting System and the National Fire Protection Association's fire department survey were used to provide details about the circumstances of highway vehicle fires.
Mechanical or electrical failures caused roughly three-quarters of the highway vehicle fires but only 11% of the deaths. Collisions and overturns were factors contributing to the ignition in only 3% of the fires, but fires resulting from these incidents caused 58% of these vehicle fire deaths. The rate of bus fires per billion miles driven was 3.5 times that for highway vehicle fires overall. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.