The loss of human lives and body injuries as a consequence of post-crash fires either by smoke inhalation or due to burn injuries are unfortunately common. For instance, a study published some years ago indicates that 5 % of all fatalities in Swedish roads due to collisions in passenger cars, sport utility vehicles, vans and minibuses which took place between 1998 and 2008 occurred in burning vehicles. In order to reduce the number of injuries and human fatalities associated to post-crash fires in road vehicles, it is necessary to study the causes of these lethal fires. Of particular interest are the ignition sources, vehicle types, fire dynamics and toxicology mechanisms which directly contribute to the loss of human lives, for instance, the dynamics and toxicity of fires due to upholstery and materials in passenger compartments or toxic gases due to fires in electric vehicles. The present study will try to include statistics on the causes and dynamics of post-crash fires in road vehicles based on the literature, crash and incident reports as well as on interviews with first responders and medicine specialists where modern incidents will be prioritised without ignoring historically important incidents. Furthermore, some of the consequences related to post-crash fires by the use of modern and future drivelines and fuels will also be examined.
Post-crash fires in road vehicles