Vehicle Fire Involved in a Crash Along I-5 in Sacramento
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento car accident lawyer. A single-vehicle crash along southbound Interstate 5 just north of Interstate 80 on May 29 resulted in a vehicle catching on fire and injuries to the driver. According to the California Highway Patrol (CHP), a passerby had noticed the burning vehicle and pulled over to the side, taking the driver from the car and harm’s way.
The collision occurred shortly after 7:00 p.m. when a red SUV struck an unidentified object, overturned and landed on its wheels. A passerby removed the male driver from his vehicle before the arrival of emergency medical personnel, which the CHP requested along with a wrecker to tow away the car. It is unknown at the time of this report what caused the car accident. No word has been given as to the extent of injury.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, roughly 20 percent of all fires each year are vehicle fires. In all, the NFPA reports that about 287,000 vehicle fires occur each year, causing approximately 1,500 deaths. The cost of such fires amounts to $1.3 billion annually. Of the highway fire deaths, about 92 percent were in vehicles designed for use on high-speed roads such as trucks, cars, RVs, and motorcycles. The primary reason for vehicle fires is equipment failure.
Reasons for Vehicle Fires
Car fires are often due to events that precede the actual blaze. These can be human error, defective parts, mechanical and chemical reasons. Let’s look at the top reasons vehicle fires happen:
- Human error: It is essential to maintain a vehicle, and lack of maintenance can lead to a car fire. Items such as faulty wiring and leaky seals cause many car fires each year.
- Impact: An impact at high speed can affect the engine, battery and gas tank, leading to a fire.
- Design problems: A flawed design can increase the chances that a car fire will happen. Usually, recalls are issued, however, many times, numerous fires occur before this happens.
- Battery-related Issues: This has been a problem for hybrid and electric vehicles including Tesla. In many such accidents, a coolant fluid/ battery interaction occurs leading to a fire.
- Electrical system: Electrical problems are common in today’s vehicles. This is particularly true of a battery. Since the battery produces hydrogen gas, this vapor can be ignited by electrical current sparks from the battery as well as other sources.
- Catalytic converter: The temperature of a catalytic converter can range from 1,200 to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. When it overheats, the unit is straining to burn off pollutants. An abundance of pollutants may be due to an inefficient engine. This causes damage to the converter over time as well as adjacent areas such as the vehicle’s floor insulation and the carpeting.
- Overheated engine: If the engine overheats, it can cause hot fluids such as oil to spill from its container, eventually landing on hot areas such as the exhaust and causing a fire. An overheated engine can also be due to a flaw in the design and requires a fix to keep it running cooler.
- Fuel leaks: This is a flammable substance, and at a temperature of 46 degrees, it can be ignited by a spark. Also, if the fuel reaches a temperature of 495 degrees, it can ignite without an outside source such as a spark. Making sure that there are no fuel leaks on a routine basis can help. This may also occur due to a defective auto part.
- Ignited fluids: There are a number of flammable fluids in any vehicle that can spill after a violent crash. These include brake fluid, gasoline, coolant and fluid used for power steering.
What to Do If Your Car Catches Fire
With a car fire, it is crucial to vacate the vehicle at the first hint of a fire. However, this is not always possible. A driver can be trapped in the car, or he or she can suffer injuries that prevent leaving the vehicle quickly. Often, the fire erupts without much warning so that the car occupants are not aware of the danger until it is too late.
Burns can be devastating, painful and require surgery or cause the person to succumb to his or her injuries. There are three types of burns, identified by the degree of damage:
- First-degree burns: This burn involves the outer layer of the skin or the epidermis. It is the mildest burn, yet is painful. There are usually no blisters. Depending on the person and their immune status, it may take some time to heal. This is particularly true of diabetics. However, the average healing time is five days.
- Second-degree burns: Partial thickness burns are those that involve not just the epidermis but also the next layer of skin, the hypodermis. The skin may have a leathery appearance and is called an eschar. Blistering is a prominent feature. It may take up to three weeks to heal. Sometimes, the burn may evolve to a full thickness burn where the dermis is destroyed, leaving the patient with no sensory feeling since the nerves are also damaged.
- Third-degree burns: This type of injury is severe and extends into the deeper layers of the skin. Generally, there is little to no pain due to nerve destruction. Hospital stays are all but guaranteed and surgery as well, as vigilance to prevent infection is needed.
- Fourth-degree burns: These are serious injuries that extend into the bone and muscles. They are often fatal and cause considerable destruction.
Sacramento Car Accident Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento car accident lawyer. Single-vehicle accidents can result in devastating injuries that can be compounded when the car catches on fire. If you or someone you care about was injured due to negligence, I would like to offer you my free and friendly advice. Please give me a call at (916) 921-6400 in the Sacramento area, or if you are outside the city, call (800) 404-5400.
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Photo Attribution: https://pixabay.com/en/brigade-british-danger-emergency-20489/
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