Causes of Truck Fires and Explosions in Fargo - Sand Law North Dakota
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Causes of Truck Fires and Explosions in Fargo

26th July 2023

Being involved in any kind of accident with a huge commercial truck is terrifying. When that wreck involves truck fires and explosions, it’s even worse. The injuries that result can be devastating – in many cases, even fatal.

The attorneys with Sand Law are standing by to help if you’ve suffered an injury or the tragic loss of a loved one in a truck accident, fire, or explosion caused by another party’s negligence. You can contact us online or call 701-609-1510 for a free consultation. We’ll tell you how we’ll work to help you obtain the maximum compensation you deserve.

The following is information on some of the reasons trucks can ignite and explode.

Faulty Wiring

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, faulty wiring plays a role in about 30% of all car and truck fires.

When electrical wires within the truck’s systems are damaged or poorly insulated, they can create sparks or short circuits. These electrical discharges ignite nearby flammable materials or fuel vapors, leading to a fire.

A lack of maintenance can also play a role. Regular maintenance is crucial for ensuring the integrity of a truck’s electrical system. Neglecting to inspect and repair faulty wiring increases the risk of fires.

Also, improper or amateur electrical modifications to the truck, such as installing additional accessories or lighting, can overload the electrical system and create hazardous conditions.

Overheated Tires

When trucks are loaded beyond their recommended weight capacity, the tires may become overstressed. As a result, the tires generate excessive heat during extended driving, making them more susceptible to failure and potential fires.

High speeds, especially in hot weather conditions, can cause tires to heat up rapidly, leading to tire blowouts or tread separation. Insufficient air pressure in the tires can cause increased friction between the tire and the road surface, generating excess heat and increasing the likelihood of a tire fire.

Hot Brakes

If a truck carries too heavy a load, or the driver frequently takes the vehicle on steep descents, that requires extensive brake use. Doing so generates significant heat. If this heat isn’t effectively dissipated, it can lead to brake fluid boiling or brake pads catching fire.

In addition, poorly maintained or worn-out brake components can reduce braking efficiency. The driver must apply the brakes more frequently, increasing the risk of brake-related fires.

Exhaust Systems

The temperature of the gases from a truck’s exhaust system can reach as high as 1000°F. They can get twice as hot once they get to the catalytic converter.

Damaged or malfunctioning exhaust components, such as catalytic converters or diesel particulate filters, can cause excessive heat. This heat can release sparks or hot gases, potentially igniting nearby flammable materials. High temperatures can lead to fires if the exhaust system is located too close to flammable materials, such as fuel lines or insulation.

Wheel Bearings

Wheel bearings can wear out over time, increasing friction and heat. Neglecting to replace worn-out bearings can result in catastrophic failures and fires.

A lack of lubrication can also play a role in causing a fire and explosion. Proper lubrication of wheel bearings is essential to reduce friction and heat generation. When wheel bearings aren’t adequately lubricated, they can overheat and become a fire hazard.

Signs of Truck Fires

In some instances, there are other signs of fire besides smoke and flames. If drivers notice the following, they must be alert and prepared to take action. Doing so will help protect not only their safety but also the safety of everyone else on the road.

  • Strange odors: These include smells emitted from burning rubber, plastic, or other materials inside or outside the truck’s cabin.
  • Warning lights: Dashboard warning lights may illuminate, indicating engine issues or overheating. Anti-lock brake system (ABS) or brake warning lights may also come on if the fire is brake-related. If a driver ignores these warnings, the results could be disastrous.
  • Loss of power: Sudden loss of engine power could be due to engine components being damaged by a fire. Unusual noises from the engine or other systems can also indicate a problem.

What to Do if Your Vehicle Catches Fire in Fargo, North Dakota

Your first inclination may be to panic if your vehicle starts to burn. While that’s understandable, taking fast action will be critical. Following these steps could save your life, as well as the lives of others.

  • Pull over safely: Signal and move your vehicle to the side of the road away from traffic, if possible.
  • Turn off the engine: Shut off the engine to cut off the fuel supply.
  • Evacuate: Get out of the vehicle and move to a safe distance, at least 100 feet away.
  • Call for help: Call emergency services to report the fire and the exact location.
  • Don’t open the hood: Opening the hood may provide more oxygen to the fire and worsen the situation.
  • Don’t attempt to fight the fire: Truck fires can be hazardous due to the potential for explosions and toxic fumes. Get as far away as you can, as quickly as you can.

Who’s At Fault for an Accident Caused by a Truck Fire?

Determining fault in an accident caused by a truck fire can be complex and depend on the specific circumstances. Potential parties that may be at fault include:

  • The truck driver: If the driver’s negligence led to the fire, they could face liability. Examples of negligence include ignoring warning signs and failing to maintain the vehicle properly.
  • The trucking company: The company that owns the truck could also be held liable for failing to maintain the vehicle properly or pushing the driver to violate safety regulations.
  • The manufacturer: If a faulty component, such as the exhaust system or wiring, was responsible for the fire, the manufacturer might be at fault.

How Can Sand Law Help You?

Sand Law specializes in personal injury cases, including accidents involving truck fires. If you’ve been involved in an accident caused by a truck fire, we’ll provide you with the skilled legal assistance you need to obtain justice.

We’ll conduct a thorough investigation to determine the cause of the truck fire and identify the responsible parties. We’ll also represent you in negotiations with insurance companies and at trial, if necessary, to ensure you receive fair compensation.

Please don’t hesitate to call 701-609-1510 or use our online form for a free case evaluation.