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Fire Research Notes


Chandler, S.E., 1972. VEHICLE FIRES ON MOTORWAYS IN 1969. Fire Research Notes 926


It is estimated that during 1969 there were 570 vehicle fires on 1002 km of motorways in Great Britain, a frequency of 0.57 fires per km of motorway compared with a maximal estimate of 0.35 vehicle fires per km on other roads. A further 26 fires were reported on motorways in hazards other than vehicles (e.g. mobile outdoor plant). There were 182 fires in cars and 282 in lorries, 110 of the latter being attributed to mechanical heat and sparks. The major causes of fires were engine (152), mechanical heat or sparks (148), wire and cable (100) and exhaust pipe (74). Only 24 fires were attributed to crashes. Two hundred and thirty eight of the vehicle fires (42 per cent) were tackled before the arrival of the fire brigade and 144 of these required no further brigade assistance. Of those not tackled before the brigade arrived, 20 were self-extinguished; these were very small fires in which the item ignited (e.g. electric wiring) burnt itself out before the brigade arrived. Of the 94 incidents which needed brigade assistance after unsuccessful fire fighting attempts only 6 required the use of jets by the brigade, a smaller proportion than with the fires that were not tackled before arrival of the fire brigade. Four people died from fire injuries in motorway fires. A total of 185 persons were killed in motorway accidents due to crash or impact injuries.

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