Alameda County Truck Fire Slows Traffic on Interstate 580

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October 09, 2017
Edward Smith


Big Rig Fire on Interstate 580

An early morning big rig fire on Interstate 580 slowed traffic on October 4. A Sigalert was issued and canceled a short time later.

Accident Details

The fire was called in slightly after 5:30 a.m., and the Sigalert was issued by Caltrans at 6:07 in the morning. Several lanes were closed heading east in the area close to Castro Valley on Eden Canyon Road. A representative of the California Highway Patrol (CHP) said that the fuel storage tanks had melted during the fire and fuel was spilled. The truck was able to be moved to the shoulder, and the Sigalert was rescinded at about 7:13 in the morning, about an hour after the first alert was sounded.

Major Causes of Big Truck Crashes

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration conducts annual studies on the incidence of big truck and bus crashes and their causes. In 2015, crashes reported to police involving big trucks totaled 415,000 nationwide. Of those, 1 percent resulted in fatalities and 20 percent resulted in injuries. Truck fires are also common and can cause serious burn injuries in a collision. Some of the reasons for fires in big trucks are as follows:

  • Short circuits and arcing in electrical wiring
  • Inadequate wiring that overheats the electrical system
  • Deterioration or overheating of terminals
  • Mechanical failure such as an alternator
  • Underinflated tires or driving on a flat tire
  • Brakes overheating
  • Insufficient axle lubricant

Burn Injuries in Motor Vehicle Accidents

Crashes that result in burn injuries can be devastating, requiring a long time for recuperation, and in more serious burns, requiring multiple plastic surgeries to repair the damage or leaving an accident victim with permanent and severe scarring. The severity of a burn depends on the extent and depth of the burn, which is separated into degrees:

1st Degree – These are superficial burns that cause redness but do not exhibit blistering.

2nd Degree – This type of burn, called a partial thickness burn, exhibits blistering and affects both the first and second layers of the skin (epidermis and dermis). Pain from a 2nd degree burn may be severe.

3rd Degree –  This type of burn extends into the body’s layer of fat and is referred to as a full-thickness burn. The skin might appear white and waxy looking, tan or even leathery. Skin grafts are frequently required to repair 3rd-degree burns. Smoke inhalation, difficulty breathing and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning may appear with 3rd-degree burns. Pain may not be present due to the destruction of nerve endings.

4th Degree – This burn can extend into the muscle or bone. The burned area may appear charred or black. Amputation or excision of the burned flesh may be necessary, and in some cases, the patient may die.

Treatment of Burn Injuries

Depending on the degree of damage, a patient who receives minor burns may require medical treatment but then be allowed to go home while a severely burned victim may need extensive hospitalization. The danger of infection is a problem that has to be guarded against, and the burn victim requires careful hydration and diet in addition to specialized medical treatment such as debridement, skin grafts, and reconstructive surgery. As the burn victim heals, rehabilitation such as physical therapy may be required to regain the use of the injured part of the body. Because of the seriousness of a burn injury caused by an accident, when that accident was caused by the negligence of a truck driver or other motorist, assistance from an experienced personal injury lawyer is important to recover fair compensation.

Berkeley Truck Accident Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Berkeley truck accident lawyer. Being burned in an accident is a frightening experience that can be coupled with a long period of incapacitation and mounting medical bills. If you or a loved one is in this situation, call me at (510) 631-0200 or at (800) 404-5400 for my friendly and free advice about the options open to you.

As a seasoned injury lawyer, I’ve assisted countless residents of Northern California, including Berkeley, recover fair damages for their personal injuries and wrongful deaths since 1982.

Visit our list of verdicts and settlements from prior cases to see how we have helped injury victims. Google and Yelp, along with Avvo, contain unsolicited recommendations and reviews.

My membership in the Million Dollar Advocates is because I have obtained settlements or won verdicts of $1 million for previous clients.

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