Fuel Fed Fires in a Rollover or Collision
In an automobile accident or rollover a post collision fuel-fed fire can have catastrophic results for occupants of these vehicles. These accidents may be rollovers, frontal impact collision, side impact collision, and rear end collisions. Some common fire related points of original or cause include:
1. Fires from Fuel Tanks under trunk floor.
2. Electric fuel pump fires – lack of fuel (gas) cut off device
3. Lack of anti-siphoning device to prevent continued gas flow after a collision
4. Fires from Seam Weld Failure in the fuel tank.
5. Separation of the Fuel lines from the fuel pump. Carburetor or Fuel Tank following a collision
6. Puncture of the Fuel Tank due to poorly designed structural members of the vehicle.
7. Fires from Side-Saddle (older GM Pickup Trucks) or Added Fuel Tanks, unprotected by the vehicle’s frame.
Fuel Tank Pump Fires – Pumping Gas After Wreck or Rollover
Fuel lines that are allowing fuel to escape from the fuel system can result in fuel fed fires during a collision. Improper construction, as well as the location of the fuel lines can make a fuel line leak more likely. Cars that contain electric fuel pumps will continue to pump gas through the fuel system after an accident because a defect allows fuel to be present allowing fires to occur. Anti-siphoning devices prevent fuel from siphoning from a fuel tank, thus preventing fuel from igniting and causing a fuel fed fire. Manufacturers have yet to take safety precautions by adding the device to vehicles. Siphoning usually allows the gas to flow out very quickly due to the gravity.
Fuel Tank Design to Prevent Fuel Tank / Gas Tank Fires & Explosions
The majority of automotive fuel tanks are constructed low carbon hot rolled sheet steel and protected from corrosion with a material most known as “tern coating.” Most tanks are stamped in two pieces (halves), fitted with the fuel line fittings, and holes, with a steel baffle welded inside the tank. Then the two halves are seem welded together to complete the tank. The tanks are then pressure tested for leaks.
Fuel Tank Placement – Rollover & Collision
The safest location for fuel tanks is the area, which is least likely to be impacted or intruded during a crash. Through years of studying crashes, two locations have been formed to be the “safest.” These are “over the rear axle and forward the rear axle” and conversely, the two most dangerous locations have been the placement “rear mounted under the floor pan” and side mounted outside vehicle’s protective frame (see), because of the frequency of rear end collisions the rear mounted fuel tanks under the floor pans are particularly dangerous due to close proximity of the crash zone from rear end collisions. Therefore, many manufacturers have been forced to move the tanks further away from the rear bumper or provided protective shields to prevent their rapture.
Fuel Tank / Gas Tank Failure During a Rollover or Accident
Fuel Tanks and Fuel Systems fail due to well-known and well-documented reasons:
1) Puncture of the Fuel Tank
2) Tearing of the fuel Tank
3) Filter Pipe Separation from the Tank
4) Filter Cap Separation
5) Hydrostatic Bursting (rare)
6) Fuel Line Separation from fuel tank
7) Lack of Fuel Pump cutoff
8) Fuel Line Separation from tank
Fuel Fed Fire Prevention
Relocation, location and/or shielding of rupture or puncture are the single and most practical solution to fuel fed fires. It is no secret that the more potential for fires. Another practical solution is the shielding or guarding from intrusions into the tank zone. Beginning in 1977 in some vehicles a high density, plastic shield was placed under or against the tank to prevent puncture by the differential or drive draft during a collision or rollover. Other designs included bladders located in the fuel tanks, high density polyethylene plastic tanks and breakaway fittings on the filler pipe to allow.
Rollover & Fuel Fed Fires Injuries & Deaths
If you or a member of your family has been involved in a SUV rollover accident, van rollover, truck rollover or collision / wreck in which there was a fuel fed fire and anyone was seriously injured or killed then call us immediately. Vehicle preservation and evidence documentation is critical. Mr. Willis is a Board Certified Personal Injury Attorney with over 20 years of product liability and litigation experience. Call the Willis Law Firm at 1-800-883-9858 for a Free & Confidential Consultation or Click Here
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