The Department of Homeland Security’s United States Fire Administration (USFA) has issued a special report, part of its Topical Fire Report Series, examining the causes and characteristics of highway vehicle fires. An estimated 258,500 highway vehicle fires occur annually resulting in 490 civilian deaths, 1,275 civilian injuries, and $1 billion in property loss.
“Highway vehicle fires account for nearly one out of every six fires,” said United States Fire Administrator Greg Cade. “It is important to focus on vehicle fire prevention and public safety to help reduce the number of vehicle-related fire deaths and injuries.”
The report, Highway Vehicle Fires, was developed by the National Fire Data Center, part of the USFA. The report is based on 2004 to 2006 data from the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS).
According to the report, 84 percent of highway vehicle fires occur in passenger vehicles. Unintentionally started fires (29%) and the failure of equipment (28%) are the leading causes of highway vehicle fires. Sixty-two percent of highway vehicle fires originate in the engine, running gear, or wheel areas of the vehicle.
The short topical reports are designed to explore facets of the U.S. fire problem as depicted through data collected in NFIRS. Each topical report briefly addresses the nature of the specific fire or fire-related topic, highlights important findings from the data, and may suggest other resources to consider for further information. Also included are recent examples of fire incidents that demonstrate some of the issues addressed in the report or that put the report topic in context.
Copies of the reports can be downloaded at: http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/statistics/reports/index.shtm